COVID-19 has wrought further damage to Georgia Tech’s 2020 season. For a second consecutive week, Tech has had a game postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Yellow Jackets' game at Miami has been postponed from Saturday to Dec. 19 due to an outbreak of COVID-19 positive tests and subsequent quarantining within the Hurricanes roster. The ACC made the announcement late Monday afternoon.
It followed the postponement of Tech’s home game scheduled for this past Saturday against Pitt, which was moved last Thursday to Dec. 12. In that case, injuries, positive tests and contact tracing within both teams left both teams unable to play.
Should the Jackets be able to play their next scheduled game – a Nov. 28 home game against Duke – it will be their first action in almost a month. Having had an open date prior to the two postponements, Tech’s most recent game was its Oct. 31 loss to Notre Dame.
“I’m saddened for our student-athletes and coaches that they won’t have the opportunity to compete this weekend, but as always, health and safety are the top priority. We send our best wishes to Miami for a full recovery for those who are affected and a speedy return to competition,” Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury said in a statement. “On our end, our student-athletes and coaches will hit the practice field this week in preparation for our home game against Duke on Nov. 28.”
While the Jackets roster was depleted for the Pitt game, Tech had gathered Sunday for team meetings and a workout on Sunday night to begin preparations to play Miami. The team’s athletic activities had been paused Thursday prior to the postponement of the Pitt game, with that day’s practice canceled. As of Monday, Tech was to practice on Tuesday.
That Miami was unable to play was not unexpected. The Hurricanes barely had enough available players for its game this past Saturday, a win at Virginia Tech. Coach Manny Diaz said Monday that, when he woke up last Friday morning, he wasn’t sure if the team would actually be able to make the trip to Blacksburg, Va.
“We are disappointed that we will not be able to play the next two weeks as scheduled but this decision was made in the best interests of the health and safety of all teams,” Miami AD Blake James said in a statement.
The scheduling fallout for both teams paints a picture of the growing challenges that the ACC and all of FBS will have to complete their seasons. In order to regain health and return players from quarantine, Miami will not only postpone its game against the Jackets, but its Nov. 28 game against Wake Forest.
The Tech-Miami game was one of six games that was moved on Monday, including three that don’t include either team, to accommodate the Hurricanes. The Tech-Miami game is scheduled for the same day as the ACC championship game, but it will only be played if Miami doesn’t earn a spot in the championship game and also if the outcome of the Jackets-Hurricanes game would not directly impact which two teams play for the ACC title.
Ten of the league’s 15 teams are now scheduled to play on Dec. 12 – which was set aside as an open date between the end of the regular season on Dec. 5 and the championship game Dec. 19 for makeup games. There are still 25 regular-season games involving ACC games to be played.
The league has little room left to postpone games at a time when the number of COVID cases and positivity rates are rising across the U.S.
“What we know is we don’t have a ‘coronavirus in college football’ problem,” Diaz said on a videoconference earlier Monday. "We have a ‘coronavirus in America’ problem.
“And everyone can see – or I would hope could see – you can’t say ‘Everyone can see’ because the way things are in 2020, everybody can’t agree on anything. But certainly, the math is saying that the numbers are really, really getting to a bad place.”