Oct 5, 2019; Eugene, OR, USA; California Golden Bears head coach Justin Wilcox reacts after his team missed making a first down during the first half against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium. Oregon won the game 17-7. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Cal-Washington game canceled amid COVID-19 quarantines

The season opener between Cal and Washington, scheduled for Saturday in Berkeley, Calif., won’t be played because one positive COVID-19 test left the Golden Bears without enough players.

In a news release, Cal said several players are in quarantine because of contact tracing. That leaves the Bears without the required minimum number of scholarship players available.

The game will not be rescheduled under Pac-12 guidelines.

The Pac-12 said in a statement that it approved Cal’s request to cancel the contest. It said the game has been declared a no-contest.

The player who tested positive is asymptomatic, the school said.

“We have been diligent in the development and execution of our return-to-play plan, and our goal all along has been to provide a safe environment and to mitigate risk as much as possible,” athletic director Jim Knowlton said. “We know how much our team and the greater Cal Athletics community was looking forward to the start of the football season this weekend. While we are disappointed in our inability to play this week, we are confident that we have made the right decision.”

The loss of the game means the Bears and Huskies will play a maximum of six games on the season.

“It is very disappointing that we will not be opening our 2020 season this Saturday night against Washington,” Golden Bears coach Justin Wilcox said. “My heart goes out first and foremost to all of our players who have been through so much since the pandemic began and worked so hard under difficult circumstances to prepare themselves to play. They have done so well following the protocols that have been put in place, but as we are finding out firsthand, playing football during 2020 is a fragile situation.”

Cal said its has conducted a total of 3,547 PCR tests of all student athletes through the end of last week, with 20 positive tests.

The Bears now will look toward preparing for their scheduled game at Arizona State on Nov. 14. Washington is slated to host Oregon State that day.

Washington athletic director Jen Cohen termed the development as disappointing.

“Our students, coaches and staff have put in incredible amount of hard work to get to this point and we are deeply disappointed they won’t have the opportunity to compete Saturday in Berkeley,” Cohen said in a statement. “I’m also disappointed for Husky Nation, they have been so patient and supportive, and we know they couldn’t wait to cheer on our Dawgs this weekend.

“With that said, the policies and protocols developed by the Pac-12, local and state officials placed the health and safety of students, coaches and staff at the forefront. We will now turn our attention to next week and start our preparations for Oregon State.”

–Field Level Media