Houston vs. North Texas Canceled Because of Coronavirus Concerns

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2020

Houston Cougars head coach Dana Holgorsen during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

The matchup between Houston and North Texas, scheduled for Saturday, has been canceled after four Mean Green players tested positive COVID-19, per Eddie Timanus of USA Today

"We knew that there would be challenges with COVID-19 this season and we were taking precautions to hopefully avoid this situation," Wren Baker, the athletic director at North Texas, said in a statement. "Our student-athlete health and safety is the priority in every decision we make and that is what this difficult decision is based on. We are hopeful we can resume safe activities soon."

It's the fifth game on Houston's schedule that has either been postponed or canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. They planned to open the season against Rice, but that was postponed. A matchup against Washington State was also canceled when the Pac-12 canned non-conference games. A matchup with Memphis was postponed, and a game they scheduled to replace it against Baylor was also nixed. 

Houston is perhaps the best example of the complications inherent in attempting to hold a football season amid a pandemic, and for critics of having unpaid athletes perform under the shadow of the coronavirus, an example of how irresponsible the attempt is in the first place. 

Houston athletics director Chris Pezman released the following statement after the cancellation of the game vs. North Texas:

"We understand this COVID-related decision North Texas has made to not play Saturday's game and appreciate the consistent dialogue with our program by UNT Athletics Director Wren Baker, his administration and medical staff during this week. I am disappointed for our student-athletes who have continued to focus on competing this season and were ready to play this Saturday. We will continue to work to adjust our schedule with the hopes of playing as soon as we can."

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Because of the scheduling changes, Houston has yet to play a game this season, with its next scheduled matchup on Oct. 8 vs. Tulane.