After a positive coronavirus test put its weekend matchup with Colorado in doubt, USC’s hopes of playing Saturday are still intact as public health officials gave the team clearance to resume football practice Wednesday.
Another USC football player has since tested positive, while five others were identified via contract tracing as close contacts and are in quarantine. But those seven players, none of whom was identified by USC, presumably won’t put the Trojans below any minimum thresholds set by the Pac-12.
That could still change ahead of Saturday, when USC is playing Colorado at the Coliseum in a matchup of undefeated Pac-12 South foes. In a statement, USC said that the status of the game, scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m., remains “unchanged at this time, pending further testing.”
Testing will continue every day until then, with an additional round of PCR tests on tap for Thursday.
Even if USC is cleared to play, it could be without those seven players for the next two games. Safety protocols call for anyone within close contact of someone who has tested positive to quarantine for 14 days. USC is slated to play Washington State on Dec. 3 in a matchup that’s already seen its kickoff time adjusted to 6 p.m. to adhere to the 10 p.m. curfew in Los Angeles County.
The Cougars have had their own issues with COVID-19. Nine Washington State football players remained in quarantine as of Tuesday, leading the Pac-12 to cancel its rivalry matchup with Washington this week.
Shortly after that game was canceled, the Pac-12 announced that Arizona State, dealing with its own influx of positive cases, would not be able to play Utah. Since that announcement, the teams left without opponents this week, Washington and Utah, resolved to play each other on Saturday.
USC is one of just three Pac-12 teams yet to face any fallout on its schedule from positive coronavirus cases. Whether that streak will continue into the fourth Saturday of its shortened season remains to be seen.