BERKELEY (CBS SF) – The Cal football program has postponed this weekend's game between the Golden Bears and USC Trojans at Memorial Stadium due to a "major outbreak" of COVID-19 cases.
Berkeley's Department of Health confirmed 44 have tested positive for coronavirus and said the team didn't take the proper measures to stop the spread. The department sayd it is working closely with university health officials to "contain a major COVID-19 outbreak involving coaches, students and staff in the Cal Football program."
In a statement, the health department said coaches and players didn't test or stay home when they were sick and didn't mask indoors. This led to several more player testing positive Tuesday and has forced the Pac-12 to postpone this weekend's game between Cal and USC.
"To see our staff frustrated or to see our student athletes frustrated, it's just challenging," said Cal Athletic Director Jim Knowlton.
More than 99% of the team is vaccinated but dozens tested positive for COVID. In last Saturday's loss to Arizona 24 players were missing including starting quarterback Chase Garbers and 12 coaches. Head Coach Justin Wilcox was visibly upset after the game.
The frustration was widespread and it mainly centered around the testing mandate from the City of Berkeley and the University Health Services. Many players venting on social media.
Garbers expressed confusion over the University Health Services policy saying, "We have worked too hard to have someone take this all away from us, it is wrong. We deserve answers and transparent communication."
"Postponing this game was a last resort and not an action any of us wanted to take, however it was not possible for us to field a team on Saturday," Head Coach Justin Wilcox said.
"We know how important every one of our games is to our student-athletes, especially our seniors who have been incredible representatives of the program, but it was the right thing to do," said Knowlton.
"We have had multiple COVID-19 positives within our program, and we are taking every step we can to mitigate the spread and protect the greater community," Knowlton went on to say.
Last week, several players entered COVID-19 protocols and were unable to play last week against Arizona. The team has previously said that everyone in the football program is compliant with the university's COVID-19 vaccination requirements and that more than 99% of the team is fully vaccinated.
In an updated statement Tuesday afternoon, the university said the game has been rescheduled to December 4. A kickoff time has not been announced.
"Cal contacted USC about rescheduling the game and the two schools agreed on the new date. The Pac-12 approved the decision to reschedule the game," the team said.
The Golden Bears are next scheduled to play Stanford in the 124th edition of the Big Game on November 20.
Andrea Nakano contributed to this report.
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