Sep 19, 2020; Murfreesboro, Tennessee, USA; Troy Trojans running back B.J. Smith (26) runs for a first down during the first half against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Floyd Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Troy-Louisiana Monroe II canceled due to COVID-19

Troy’s game with Louisiana-Monroe scheduled for Thursday night has been called for the second and final time, due to the Warhawks not having enough players available to play.

The two were originally scheduled to play on Sept. 5 but that game was postponed due to nine positive tests for the coronavirus within ULM’s program.

Troy finishes the season with a record of 5-6, and 3-4 in the Sun Belt.

“We are extremely disappointed in the news that ULM will not have enough players available to play Thursday’s game,” Troy director of athletics Brent Jones said. “I am very appreciative to ULM Athletics Director Scott McDonald and Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill for their open lines of communication in this process. My heart hurts for our student-athletes, coaches and staff who have worked tirelessly since they returned to campus in June with the intention of playing a full 12-game schedule.”

ULM finishes winless at 0-10, including an 0-7 conference mark.

“The combination of positive COVID tests, contact tracing and injuries made it impossible to safely play the season finale at Troy,” McDonald said. “Our No. 1 priority throughout this uniquely challenging season has been maintaining a safe environment for our student-athletes.

“I’m disappointed for the senior student-athletes from both schools, who won’t have the opportunity to close out their careers in the appropriate manner.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 24, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs cornerback Sam Westfall (6) is congratulated by the fans following SMU's 34-31 win against the Houston Cougars at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Houston-SMU II canceled due to COVID-19

The Houston Cougars-SMU Mustangs game scheduled for Saturday has been called off for the second time, due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Mustangs’ program, according to reports.

The Houston Chronicle reported that the outbreak hit SMU’s quarterbacks, though it’s unclear if starter Shane Buechele tested positive for the virus.

Saturday’s game was rescheduled from Nov. 21 but the contest now is canceled, per the reports. COVID-19 within Houston’s program forced the Nov. 21 contest to get postponed.

The cancellation marks the third week in a row and eighth overall this season that Houston has either had to postpone (two) or cancel (six) a game.

Houston is 3-3, 3-2 in the American Athletic Conference and hasn’t played since Nov. 14. Houston will try again Dec. 12 against Memphis, a rescheduled game from Sept. 18.

SMU (7-3, 4-3) had just one cancellation due to COVID-19 before this one, Sept. 12 vs. TCU. And this marks the first time an SMU game has been nixed due to COVID within the Mustangs’ program.

–Field Level Media

Aug 31, 2018; Madison, WI, USA; Big Ten logo on yardage markers during warmups prior to the game betwee the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers and Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Northwestern-Minnesota game canceled

The Northwestern-Minnesota football scheduled for Saturday has been canceled because of COVID-19 issues within the Golden Gophers’ program.

Per Big Ten policy this season, the game will not be rescheduled and will be ruled a no-contest.

Minnesota (2-3 overall, 2-3 Big Ten), which also canceled last Saturday’s game at Wisconsin, reported 47 people (21 athletes, 26 staff members) have tested positive for the coronavirus since Nov. 19.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff continues to be our main priority,” Golden Gophers athletic director Mark Coyle said. “The last couple of days have shown a decrease in positive cases, but not to the point where we are able to return to competition. We are disappointed not to be able to compete against Northwestern on Saturday, but we need to continue to focus on following all CDC and MDH guidelines and slow the spread of the virus. We will now shift our priority to doing everything possible to compete at Nebraska on December 12, and our decisions will continue to be guided by our medical experts.”

Saturday’s cancellation marks the first such result this season for Northwestern (5-1, 5-1), which sustained its first loss of the season with a 29-20 setback to Michigan State last Saturday.

The Wildcats will conclude their regular season against Illinois on Dec. 12.

–Field Level Media

Nov 30, 2019; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Elijah Collins (24) runs the ball in front of Maryland Terrapins defensive lineman Bryce Brand (27) during the second half a game at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

COVID-19 scraps Maryland-MSU; Locksley positive

The Maryland-Michigan State game scheduled for Saturday has been canceled due to an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 within the Terrapins program, including head coach Mike Locksley.

It’s the second consecutive week that Maryland has had to cancel a game. Last week’s game against No. 3 Ohio State was also called off. It’s the first cancellation for Michigan State.

Maryland announced Thursday that 15 players and seven staff members have tested positive during the past seven days, including Locksley, who tested positive Wednesday.

“I am gutted for our team and for our fans,” Locksley said in a statement. “This team is eager to play and compete and continue the growth we’ve seen this season. This virus is testing our players and coaches right now, but I have no doubt that we will emerge as a stronger unit for having gone through this together.

“As for me personally, I am feeling strong, with only minor symptoms. I will continue to lead this program virtually and our game preparations for Indiana will begin immediately,” Locksley said.

Per Big Ten rules, any game that can’t be played because of the coronavirus goes down as a no contest and does not get rescheduled.

Maryland (2-1) is scheduled to play at No. 9 Indiana next week, and the Spartans (1-3) are slated to host No. 19 Northwestern.

In all, 15 games have been canceled or postponed on the week, following 15 last week.

–Field Level Media

Nov 7, 2020; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) runs with the ball against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the fourth quarter at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

Outbreak at Maryland scraps game vs. No. 3 Ohio State

Saturday’s game between No. 3 Ohio State and Maryland has been canceled due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Terrapins program, the school announced.

Maryland has paused all football activities after eight players tested positive over the past seven days.

“We’re obviously extremely disappointed that we’ll be unable to host Ohio State this Saturday,” Terps coach Michael Locksley said in a statement. “It was an opportunity that our team was preparing for and excited about. However, we have and always will keep our players, coaches and staffs’ safety at the forefront of our decision making process. We’ll continue to operate as much as we can virtually as we monitor the situation in hopes of returning to play when it’s deemed safe.”

The Terps (2-1) had won consecutive games, including last week’s victory at Penn State. Ohio State is 3-0 and was a 25.5-point favorite in the game. Ohio State defeated Rutgers at home last week.

Per Big Ten rules, any game lost to the coronavirus goes down as a “no contest” and will not be rescheduled.

–Field Level Media

Sep 14, 2019; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Miami Hurricanes running back Cam'Ron Harris (23) scores a touchdown against Bethune Cookman Wildcats safety Tydarius Peters (21) during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Bethune-Cookman cancels all sports for 2020-21

Bethune-Cookman University has nixed all sports for the entire academic year, becoming the first Division I school to opt out due to impacts of the coronavirus.

The private and historically Black school is located in Daytona Beach, Fla., an area seeing a spike in cases of COVID-19 in the county and state.

“B-CU will forgo all spring athletic competition, including football and men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball and track and field,” school president Dr. E. LaBrent Chrite said in a letter sent out Monday night. “The recent spike in COVID-19 positivity rates in the state, across Volusia County and on our campus provides clear and unambiguous evidence, in our view, that now is simply not the time to resume athletic competition.”

The university locked down last week with 30 students isolated and quarantined on campus. The school announced 15 positive cases between Oct. 16 and Oct. 21.

This was to be BCU’s final year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference; the school announced earlier this year that it was moving to the Southwestern Athletic Conference in 2021.

The Bethune-Cookman’s women’s basketball team was predicted to win the southern division of the MEAC this season behind senior forward Amaya Scott, who was named the conference’s preseason player of the year.

–Field Level Media

Sep 21, 2019; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Old Dominion Monarchs quarterback Stone Smartt (4) scrambles from Virginia Cavaliers defensive tackle Aaron Faumui (94) in the third quarter at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Old Dominion breaks with C-USA, calls off football season

Old Dominion canceled its fall athletic season on Monday, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

“We concluded that the season — including travel and competition — posed too great a risk for our student-athletes,” President John R. Broderick said in a university statement. “I know many on and off campus will be disappointed, but we must prioritize the health and safety of our student-athletes, as well as our coaches, staff and fans.”

Old Dominion’s football team becomes the 14th FBS program to announce it won’t play this fall, joining Connecticut and the 12 members of the Mid-American Conference.

The Monarchs are a member of Conference USA, which on Friday announced its board of directors approved a football schedule as well as return-to-play protocols. The first conference game is set for Sept. 12, and schools were given the option to add as many as four nonleague games.

Old Dominion was scheduled to open the season Sept. 4 at Wake Forest.

Conference USA officials didn’t immediately comment Monday on Old Dominion’s move.

But Old Dominion is opting out.

“This is just the right thing to do for everyone involved,” athletic director Wood Selig said. “After making this decision, I already feel a sense of relief.

“We’re not like the NBA. We can’t put our athletes and coaches and fans in a bubble, and we don’t have unlimited resources.”

Selig said he hopes fall sports can be played in the spring, “but first and foremost it has to be safe for everyone involved and would also require NCAA approval.”

First-year football coach Ricky Rahne said he accepts the cancellation of the season.

“My heart aches for our student-athletes,” Rahne said in a statement posted to Twitter. “From the moment our staff was hired, this group of players has been fully invested. I know how diligent each of them has worked in order to have a successful fall season. However, their health and safety is at the utmost importance, and I support the decision.”

He continued: “I am eager to continue to provide an atmosphere of development and a positive student-athlete experience for each of our players.”

The 40-year-old Rahne, most recently Penn State’s offensive coordinator, replaced Bobby Wilder, who resigned in December following a 1-11 season.

–Field Level Media