EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) — UTEP football’s road game at Rice was canceled on Saturday morning due positive cases of COVID-19 and subsequent contact tracing within the Miners program, the school announced.
Initially, the game was delayed around 9:30 a.m., as the team conducted what it called a second round of testing. The game was then canceled two hours later when the results of those tests came back.
The canceled game is the 100th such cancelation or postponement in college football this year, according to Stadium’s Brett McMurphy. The game appeared all week as if it would be played, as the Miners even traveled to Houston on Friday afternoon and stayed the night at the team hotel.
This is the first UTEP game this season to be canceled or postponed due to positive COVID-19 cases within the Miners’ program. Games against Southern Miss, FIU and UAB were not played due to cases and contact tracing at those schools. The North Texas game was not played after UNT expressed discomfort in travelling to El Paso due to the number of cases in the Sun City.
UTEP is currently slated to host Southern Miss on Friday, Dec. 4, in a game that was rescheduled from Oct. 17. As of now, there has not been any word about whether or not the game will be played. With UTEP being forced to cancel the Rice game just six days prior to playing the Golden Eagles, the possibility of that game also getting canceled cannot be ruled out. However, no decisions regarding any future games have been made as of Saturday night.
UTEP took their chartered flight out of Houston on Saturday evening and arrived back in El Paso at 6:30 p.m. MT.
The Miners football team isn’t the only UTEP squad hit by COVID-19 — Sunday’s men’s basketball game at Arizona was postponed on Friday night due to a case of COVID-19 within the Miners’ basketball program. It is unclear at this time if the team has been shutdown as a result of the positive case, or if the Miners are still practicing.
UTEP officials tell KTSM — director of athletics Jim Senter, head coach Dana Dimel, and president Dr. Heather Wilson will not be issuing statements on the events transpiring that led to Saturday’s football game at Rice being canceled. However, the athletic department plans to release more information on Sunday.