UTAH UTES

Whittingham Hopes To Play Full Schedule But Isn’t Sure It Is ‘Realistic’

Oct 21, 2020, 9:41 AM

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)...

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah is just over two weeks away from their season opener against Arizona but Kyle Whittingham isn’t confident that they will play their full schedule.

The Pac-12 has laid out a 7-game conference only schedule that begins on Saturday, Nov. 7. The conference also released the protocols and policies regarding game cancellations and postponement.

Whittingham and his staff have been able to observe the rest of the country as college football games have been canceled or postponed due to COVID-19. He was asked on Wednesday what he can learn from programs have virus outbreaks.

“Well, I guess we can learn there’s a good chance that some of our games will be canceled or postponed as well,” Whittingham said. “The Pac-12 is cranking up two weeks from Saturday. It would be tremendous if we get all the games in on our schedule. Not sure if that’s realistic, but you just got to do the best you can to mitigate the virus and take every precaution and we’re doing that and just hope for the best. It’s an invisible virus in which you can’t completely be 100 percent safeguarded against it. I think we’re doing a lot of good things trying to stay healthy and so far so good. So we hope that continues.”

The problem that the Pac-12 will eventually face is that there is no room for games that can’t be played to be pushed to the end of the season. The conference schedule is seven games in seven straight weeks.

Game Cancellation Policy

The conference established minimum thresholds to play a football game of at least 53 scholarship players available to participate. The following minimum number of position scholarship players available to begin a game:

  • Seven offensive linemen
  • One quarterback
  • Four defensive linemen

Each program will provide a complete roster by position to the Conference office prior to the season. The impacted institution has the option to play the game with fewer than the 53 scholarship players or fewer than the minimum number of position players listed above if they elect to do so. Otherwise, upon approval by the Commissioner, the game would be rescheduled or declared a no contest.

In addition, a game should be rescheduled or declared a no contest in the event of the following COVID-19 related impacts:

  1. Inability to isolate new positive cases within a team or athletic department to quarantine high-risk contacts.
  2. Unavailability or inability to perform testing as provided by the Pac-12 medical guidelines.
  3. Campus-wide or local community transmission rates that are considered unsafe by local public health officials.
  4. Inability to perform adequate contact tracing consistent with governmental requirements.
  5. Local public health officials of the home team state that there is an inability for the hospital infrastructure to accommodate a surge.

Game Out West Already Postponed

The Mountain West Conference is scheduled to begin this weekend and one game has already been canceled. Colorado State’s game against New Mexico has been canceled because of the virus in Bernalillo County and in accordance with state guidelines in New Mexico. As of right now, local health authorities have not prevented Utah’s game on Nov. 7 against Arizona to be played.

Utah State is scheduled to open the season on Saturday, Oct. 24 at Boise State.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Whittingham Hopes To Play Full Schedule But Isn’t Sure It Is ‘Realistic’