Dec 7, 2019; Boone, NC, USA; A Sun Belt Conference logo is affixed to the pylon during a game between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin Cajuns at Kidd Brewer Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

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Sun Belt cancels conference title game between Chanticleers, Cajuns

The Coastal Carolina Chanticleers have cleared every opponent put in front of them this season.

That changed Thursday night.

The Sun Belt Conference announced the conference championship game between the No. 12 Chanticleers (11-0) and the No. 19-ranked Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns (9-1), to be held in Conway, S.C., has been canceled due to a positive COVID-19 test within the Coastal Carolina program.

In a press release, the Sun Belt said because of contact tracing, an entire Coastal Carolina position group would not be available to play because of possible exposure to the virus. According to conference bylaws, both teams will be recognized as 2020 co-conference champions.

“We are very disappointed that the championship game cannot be played, but we are so proud of all of the players and staff members and their hard work during this truly challenging season,” Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill said in a statement.

In a meeting earlier this season, the Chanticleers edged the Cajuns 30-27 on Oct. 14. The rematch figured to offer Coastal Carolina to make its case one last time to move up in the College Football Playoff rankings and possibly earn a spot in a New Year’s Day bowl game.

“We are all obviously devastated with this development and hurt for the student-athletes from both institutions in that they will not have a chance to compete for a conference title,” Coastal Carolina athletic director Matt Hogue said in a press release. “However, the adherence to health and safety protocols for our student-athletes has been and remains the first priority. Those protocols and guidance from our medical team fully governs this decision.”

Louisiana, which knocked off current No. 6 Iowa State early this season, was looking to avenge its only loss of the season and earn the conference championship. Instead, both programs will be looking forward to probably bowl game berths to be announced Sunday.

“We are severely disappointed for our student-athletes and staff to not have the opportunity to play in what would have been a truly exciting championship game for the Sun Belt Conference,” Louisiana athletic director Bryan Maggard said in a press release. “For our football program, fans, and alumni we look forward to learning of our bowl destination this weekend.”

–Field Level Media

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