Memphis' game vs. Houston on Sept. 19 postponed after COVID-19 outbreak among Tigers players

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·3 min read

Memphis will not play Houston on Sept. 19.

The Tigers announced Friday that “a number of individuals connected with the Tigers’ football program had tested positive” for the COVID-19 and that the team had paused workouts.

That number is at least 20 people within the program, according to the Memphis Commercial Appeal, with another group of at least 20 in quarantine due to contact tracing. The program indicated that contact tracing had found many of the cases to be linked to social events outside of football activities.

There are reportedly no serious cases. Saturday, both Memphis and Houston announced that the game would be postponed. A rescheduled date has not been determined.

The full Memphis statement from Friday:

The University of Memphis has announced that a number of individuals connected with the Tigers' football program tested positive for COVID-19. These positive tests, along with contact tracing efforts, dictate that a significant number of individuals enter quarantine in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Due to these circumstances, the football team has paused all practice and group activities and will unfortunately not be able to participate in today's Unity Walk hosted by the University of Memphis.

There are no serious cases at this time, but all student-athletes and staff affected are being closely monitored. The positive tests and subsequent contact tracing indicate that the majority of cases have been primarily linked to social events outside of official football activities.

More detail, including the status of the game against the University of Houston scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18, will be provided early next week after consulting with the AAC COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group.

Memphis player disputes party bus report

MEMPHIS, TN - SEPTEMBER 05:  Tahj Washington #18 of the Memphis Tigers watches a pass fall incomplete during the fourth quarter against the Arkansas State Red Wolves at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on September 5, 2020 in Memphis, Tennessee. Memphis defeated Arkansas State 37-24. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
One Memphis player is blaming the team's last opponent for the team's outbreak. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)

One of those “social events outside of official football activities” was a party bus that members of the team boarded after their season-opening win over Arkansas State last weekend, according to the Commercial Appeal.

Memphis has reportedly attributed its dramatic uptick in positive tests to that party bus, but at least one player has a different theory.

Memphis senior defensive lineman O'Bryan Goodson tweeted that no one on the team had been partying, bus or not, and that the positive tests could be coming from Arkansas State players.

The tweet has since been deleted.

There have been no announcements or reports about such an outbreak at Arkansas State, and the team still seems poised to play against Kansas State this Saturday. Per Arkansas State’s own numbers, there are 54 coronavirus cases among students living on campus, 124 among students living off campus and 9 among employees, out of an enrollment of about 14,000 students at its Jonesboro campus.

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