Update 4:20 p.m. September 11th: The Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting “at least another 20” people are in quarantine due to contact tracing. They expand on the original reporting:
The dramatic uptick in positive tests, according to the source, has been attributed to a party bus that members of the team were on after last Saturday’s season-opening win against Arkansas State.
The reports of a party bus have been denied on Twitter by Tigers D-lineman O’Bryan Goodson:
Lies Dog! Nobody Had A Party Nor Was On A Party Bus!! Arkansas St needs to be the ones Tested❗️ We’ve been doing what we’re supposed to do , all this came after we played them! https://t.co/5YPJBw2Dx4— OB Goodson Jr. #️⃣1️⃣ (@OBryanGoodson) September 11, 2020
We knew Covid-19 outbreaks were bound to happen during the 2020 college football season considering the games aren’t being played in a bubble of any sort. But to have the breakouts coming before the overwhelming majority of teams even step on the field is a bigger issue. And that might be what’s happening for the Memphis Tigers already.
Houston radio station ESPN 97.5 FM says Memphis football team has 20-plus players test positive for Covid-19, speculates Sept. 18 game against Houston may be in doubt— Joseph Duarte (@Joseph_Duarte) September 11, 2020
The Tigers beat Arkansas State last Saturday 37-24 at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis.
Let’s put all the necessary caveats in, which are that a (very credible!) newspaper reporter is repeating what they’ve heard on a local sports talk radio station. Having said that...
20+ cases is a lot. And if those players are forced from the team for 14 days, their game with the Houston Cougars would for sure be in doubt. And that’s before potential contact tracing quarantines for teammates are added to this.
We’ll likely see if there’s anything to this shortly as both athletic departments are getting questions about it. Right now it’s scheduled to be played in Memphis next Friday on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. ET to open American Conference play for both teams.