9 Auburn Football Players Have Tested Positive for COVID-19, Says HC Gus Malzahn

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2020

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn during the first half of the Outback Bowl NCAA college football game against Minnesota Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

Nine Auburn football players have tested positive for COVID-19, with another seven away from the team after being deemed high-risk, head coach Gus Malzahn confirmed to reporters Sunday.

"We're learning as we go here," Malzahn said. "Every day and every week is a challenge."

He added that two of the team's position groups had been impacted to an extent the Tigers didn't have full practices over the last few days.

Oklahoma had a similar issue earlier in the week, with head coach Lincoln Riley telling reporters all but one member of a specific position group had been forced to step away momentarily because of COVID-19 protocols.

The news underscores how tenuous the situation is for schools that are planning to play college football this fall. It doesn't take a major outbreak to throw a roster into complete disarray; a small handful of positive tests at one position can have an outsized impact.

ESPN's Alex Scarborough noted Auburn's COVID-19 policy stipulates that a player must wait at least 17 days before he can fully rejoin the team after testing positive. He has to quarantine for 10 days and then undergo a seven-day "re-acclimation period."

That would leave a player out for a minimum of two games if he tested positive during the season.

The SEC is using a 10-game conference-only scheduling format for this year because of the pandemic. The Tigers open the season Sept. 26 at home against Kentucky.