Season opener against Louisiana Tech postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak

Louisiana Tech football prays after the Walk-Ons Independence Bowl on Dec. 26, 2019. Several LA Tech players tested positive for COVID-19 in the wake of Hurricane Laura. Photo courtesy Shelby Brundige | Louisiana Tech Athletics

By Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

Baylor football’s season opener against Louisiana Tech has been postponed. The game was scheduled to be played this Saturday at McLane Stadium.

Both teams decided to postpone the matchup following a COVID-19 outbreak among the Louisiana Tech team. Louisiana Tech Athletic Director Tommy McClelland said that playing the game would “put the student-athletes at risk.”

“We are obviously very disappointed that we will not be able to open the season this weekend at Baylor,” McClelland said. “However, with the number of recent positive COVID-19 results and contact tracing, it is simply not possible.”

Baylor Athletic Director Mack Rhoades said that while he was disappointed, the postponement was necessary.

“In the interest of the health and wellness of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff, we are confident in this unfortunate but necessary course of action,” Rhoades said. “To the Baylor and Louisiana Tech student-athletes and communities, we share in your disappointment and look ahead to resuming play.”

McClelland said that the outbreak occurred in the wake of Hurricane Laura, which hit Louisiana Tech’s campus two weeks ago.

“It is obvious that the impact of Hurricane Laura in our community a few weeks ago really sparked our significant increase in numbers,” McClelland said. “With 95 percent of our city losing power for days – even up to a week in many areas – our student-athletes were forced to find places to stay and some even had family from south Louisiana that came northward to stay with them.”

Baylor is not the first Big 12 team to have to postpone their season opener. TCU’s season opener against SMU was postponed earlier in the week due to an increased amount of COVID-19 cases among the TCU staff and athletes.

Similarly, Oklahoma State had to push their season opener against Tulsa back to September 19th.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said earlier in the week that he expected games to be “disrupted” due to COVID-19 early in the season.

“I will tell you this: I don’t think the TCU/SMU game will be the last game will not be able to play,” Bowlsby said. “I have said to some of you, as well as to others, that I expect disruptions and we’ve already had one.”

The teams have not rescheduled the game yet. Both teams will be looking for open dates to reschedule the game later in the season.

Currently, Baylor’s next game will be against Kansas on September 26th at McLane Stadium.