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BYU postpones next Saturday’s football game at Army due to COVID-19 concerns

Cougars report “a small number of COVID-19 test results” within their football program caused them to postpone the Sept. 19 game at Army

Head football coach, Kalani Sitake talks to his team after BYU opened football practice at the indoor facility in Provo on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

PROVO — What BYU is calling “a small number of positive COVID-19 test results” within its football program has caused the school to postpone next Saturday’s scheduled game at Army.

The Cougars (1-0) and Black Knights (2-0) will work together to try and reschedule the contest, according to a BYU news release.

Rumors that the game was in jeopardy first surfaced on BYU fan message boards late Friday night.

“As a result of a small number of positive COVID-19 test results and the resulting tracing exposures within the BYU football program, a mutual decision was made to postpone the football game on Sept. 19 between Army and BYU,” BYU said in the release. “The decision was made after consultation with the BYU administration, state public health officials and medical advisors, and in coordination with the leadership at Army West Point.”

Army walloped Louisiana-Monroe 37-7 on Saturday at Michie Stadium in West Point, New York, while BYU was idle after crushing Navy 55-3 last Monday in Annapolis, Maryland.

“We appreciate the university administration, state health officials and a variety of medical experts who have helped us navigate these unprecedented times,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe said. “While we share the disappointment of everyone involved in the game between BYU and Army, safety as well as the physical and mental well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the opposing team is our top priority.”

BYU will conduct “small-group workouts” next week until it receives clearance from school medical officials to resume full-team practices. The Cougars’ home opener on Sept. 26 against Troy is still on the schedule.

Looking ahead to a possible matchup, Army and BYU both have Nov. 28 and Dec. 5 open on their reconstructed schedules. However, it is unlikely that Army would agree to a Dec. 5 game because it plays rival Navy on Dec. 12 and would not want to give up the additional preparation time.

BYU reports its fall semester positive cases on its website every Friday, and a day ago reported 258 total cases. Some 218 of those cases are still active. It had 141 new cases last week, after 117 the first week of classes.