WACO, Texas (AP) — An increase in positive COVID-19 cases at Baylor and concerns of an outbreak have led to the Bears’ scheduled home game Saturday against No. 7 Oklahoma State being pushed back nearly two months.
The Big 12 Conference announced Sunday night that the game has been rescheduled for Dec. 12. That move came three days after Baylor announced a pause in football activities to evaluate recent positive tests for COVID-19.
“We are disappointed to postpone another game,” Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades said. “However, the significant increase in positive COVID-19 cases has led to concerns of an outbreak and the decision to suspend team practice through October 17. Secondly, this has caused a position group to fall below the minimum threshold of available players.”
Baylor didn’t provide any specific numbers for the team, or say which position group or players were affected.
Both Oklahoma State (3-0, 2-0 Big 12) and Baylor (1-1, 1-1) had scheduled open dates Saturday. The Cowboys are next set to play against No. 20 Iowa State at home on Oct. 24, when the Bears are scheduled to play at Texas.
Big 12 officials said the league’s championship remained tentatively scheduled for Dec. 12 or 19, depending on game results needed to determine who would play in that game.
There have been 27 FBS games postponed or cancelled since Aug. 26, but this is the first Big 12 Conference game to be rescheduled.
“In situations like this, it is best to do all that you can to break the chain of transmission to help mitigate the length of time for ongoing spread of the virus,” said Dr. Christopher J. Hostler, co-founder and co-owner of Infection Control Education for Major Sports, which serves as a consultant to the Big 12 on matters related to COVID-19.
When Baylor announced its pause in football activities on Thursday, it said then it was hoping to play the game against Oklahoma State. That pause instead has been extended through at least next Saturday, the day that game was scheduled.
This is the third time Baylor and first-year coach Dave Aranda have had a scheduled game altered because of coronavirus issues.
The Bears’ original opener Sept. 12 didn’t happen because Louisiana Tech had widespread positive tests for COVID-19. A hastily arranged game against former Southwest Conference foe Houston was canceled a day before it was supposed to be played on Sept. 19 because Baylor was unable to meet COVID-19 roster thresholds set by the Big 12.