Vanderbilt vs. Missouri becomes first SEC game postponed due to COVID-19 issues

For the first time in 2020, an SEC game is being postponed due to issues with COVID-19.

The Vanderbilt vs. Missouri game, scheduled for Saturday in Columbia, will not be played due to coronavirus cases on the Commodores football team, the SEC announced. The game has been “tentatively rescheduled” for Dec. 12.

“The Vanderbilt at Missouri football game of October 17 has been postponed due to positive tests and subsequent quarantining of individuals within the Vanderbilt football program, consistent with Southeastern Conference COVID-19 management requirements,” the conference said in a statement.

Over the weekend, Vanderbilt was down to just 56 scholarship players during its game against South Carolina, a 41-7 loss. Missouri has also dealt with virus-related absences throughout the season, including being without several receivers in the LSU game over the weekend.

“While we share in the disappointment that this Saturday’s game will be postponed, our program is deeply appreciative of the tireless efforts put forth by student-athletes, university officials, conference administrators and medical experts who have risen to the challenge of helping us navigate these unprecedented circumstances,” Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said. “The safety and well-being of our student-athletes will remain a top priority as we continue the season, and we look forward to returning to competition.”

Before the season began, the SEC said that teams must have at least 53 scholarship players available in order to participate in a game. There were also minimum standards for specific positions, including one quarterback, seven offensive linemen (with one center), and four defensive linemen.

The school impacted by virus issues still has the option to proceed with the game if it is below 53 scholarship players. Otherwise, the game is “rescheduled or declared a no contest upon approval by” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.

From the SEC, dated Sept. 18:

The impacted institution has the option to play the game with fewer than the 53 scholarship players or fewer than the minimum number of position players listed above if it elects to do so. Otherwise, upon approval by the Commissioner, the game would be rescheduled or declared a no contest.

Should an institution determine there are compelling reasons why it cannot begin a contest regardless of the scholarship and position minimums above, the institution may request to have the game rescheduled or, if the game cannot be rescheduled, for the game to be considered a no contest by presenting data (including total number of players not available to participate) outlining reasons why the game should not be played as scheduled. The final decision to reschedule or declare the game a no contest is vested only with the Commissioner.

Vanderbilt is 0-3 on the year with losses to Texas A&M, LSU and South Carolina. Missouri lost its first two games to Alabama and Tennessee before upsetting LSU over the weekend for the program’s first victory under new coach Eliah Drinkwitz.

Vanderbilt-Missouri is the second game to be postponed already for the upcoming Saturday. On Sunday night, the Oklahoma State vs. Baylor game was postponed to Dec. 12 due to virus issues at Baylor.

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