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.