Football

Weekender game rescheduled for Dec. 4 due to COVID-19 issues within Cal’s program

Cal was unable to meet the minimum roster requirement this week.

A photo of California Memorial Stadium with a sunset in the background.

The upcoming Weekender football game Saturday against Cal was postponed on Tuesday after additional Cal student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19, preventing the Golden Bears from meeting the minimum roster requirement. It has been rescheduled for Dec. 4.

“It was a difficult decision to postpone this Saturday’s game against USC,” said Jim Knowlton, Cal Director of Athletics, in a statement. “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. Due to additional impact on specific position groups, we have decided to postpone Saturday’s game. 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.”

The cancellation follows additional positive tests by student-athletes within Cal’s program after an outbreak (on top of injuries) kept 24 Golden Bears players and five coaches out of last weekend’s matchup with Arizona. Cal said last Friday that 99% of its roster was vaccinated, but when a few symptomatic players tested positive early last week, City of Berkeley protocols required the entire team — vaccinated, asymptomatic players included — to be tested on Wednesday, revealing further positives.

The City of Berkeley’s COVID-related policies are far more strict than those present in the rest of the Pac-12 — or, for that matter, college football at large. This is the first FBS game to be canceled since the 2020 season.

Cal redshirt senior quarterback Chase Garbers, one of the players kept out of the Arizona contest, posted a statement to his Twitter Monday night describing a miscommunication between the City of Berkeley and Cal University administration toward Cal players. The players wrote that while city officials told them that last week’s testing wasn’t mandatory, University officials told them that players couldn’t compete unless they were tested. Redshirt senior defensive lineman Luc Bequette tweeted that Cal University Health Services officials told players they could be arrested for refusing to be tested.

“Nothing was mandated but it was enforced as so with the threat of keeping players and staff out of competition until tested and the same is for this week,” the statement read. “We deserve answers and transparent communication.”

Hosted by USC Alumni Association, USC’s traditional Weekender games provide alumni and current students willing to travel with activities throughout the game weekend such as pep rallies, mixers, tailgates and more. Cal’s statement said that those who purchased tickets for this weekend’s game will hear from Cal Athletics.

Kickoff time for the Dec. 4 matchup will be announced at a later date. USC’s next game will be against UCLA at the Coliseum on Nov. 20.