SEATTLE — The Oregon Ducks will replace the University of Washington Huskies in the Pac-12 Football Championship Game against USC on Friday due to COVID-19 cases among UW team members.
“This decision was made under the Pac-12′s football game cancellation policy and Football Championship Game policy due to Washington neither having the minimum 53 scholarship student-athletes available for the game nor the minimum number of scholarship student-athletes at a position group, in each case as a result of a number of positive football student-athlete COVID-19 cases and resulting isolation of additional football student-athletes under contact tracing protocols,” Pac-12 said in a statement Monday.
“Since discovering a handful of cases within our program last week, we have taken pro-active steps, including immediately pausing all football-related activities in our program to try to mitigate the further spread of the virus. Unfortunately, we have continued to see positive cases over the course of the last several days which has continued our pause of activities and ability to return to the practice field. This increase in cases, combined with issues with a key position group, doesn’t allow for a path forward for us this week,” said head UW football team physician Dr. Kim Harmon.
Under Pac-12 Football Championship Game policy, the team with the next best record in the North Division, Oregon, will represent the North Division against South Division Champion USC.
“Our goal every season is to win the Pac-12 Championship. I am so proud of the work our team and staff have put in to position ourselves to attain that goal. Unfortunately, the virus is in our footprint. We have not been able to resume football activities and currently the entirety of one of our key position groups, deemed a critical position group by the Pac-12, is in quarantine. There is no path forward to practice or play this week. Our focus now is getting everyone healthy so we can resume football activities and prepare for a possible bowl game. We are crushed that we cannot bring home the Pac-12 trophy for our fans, staff and players,” said Huskies head football coach Jimmy Lake.