Tennessee to miss bowl game following series of positive COVID tests
An SEC team that was set to go bowling this season is reportedly out of the game following a COVID-19 outbreak.
Tennessee will not play in the Liberty Bowl against West Virginia, which was set for Dec. 31, ESPN’s Chris Low reported.
The report suggested that Tennessee’s tests were conducted on Sunday per SEC protocol, and those results were returned on Monday morning after Tennessee had accepted the bowl invitation. Those players and staffers within Tennessee’s program who tested positive were retested on Monday to confirm the results. Tennessee also conducted a second round of testing for everybody in the football program on Monday to be sure. The combination of positive tests and subsequent contact tracing doesn’t leave Tennessee with enough players or coaches to participate in the bowl game.
It’s been a difficult season all around for Tennessee, as the Vols lost to Texas A&M on Saturday to fall to a 3-7 record. There’s also reports of an internal investigation around recruiting. Low also reported that assistant coaches Derrick Ansley and Jay Graham both missed Saturday’s game with COVID-19 related issues.
A potential move to fill this spot could fall to Army or Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are set to play Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 31. MSU could move into Tennessee’s spot in the Liberty Bowl. Army went 9-2 but is not in a bowl game.
UPDATE: Tennessee has officially confirmed this news.