By Morris Phillips
The Cal Bears were supposed to enjoy an exemplary season on the football field. Instead, their season was wrecked by COVID-19 in a such a devastating manner the conversation has regarding their fate has gone national.
And the likely final chapter to their story? The cancelation of Saturday’s game in Pullman against Washington State just two hours before the kickoff due to a Cal lineman registering a positive test on Saturday morning.
In accordance with Pac-12 contact tracing protocol, the positive test triggered the quarantine of additional players at the same position leaving the Bears below the required six scholarship players at that position. With those additional players quaranteened for two weeks, the Bears are unlikely to be able to field a team next weekend either, likely ending their season.
The Cal administration and Coach Justin Wilcox issued a statement that they would not immediately comment on the situation. What is known, the Bears traveled to Pullman Friday, but never took the field for warm-ups on Saturday and abruptly flew back to the Bay Area during the window in which the game was to be played.
“We’re always going to err on the side of caution as a conference,” WSU athletic director Pat Chun said.
That caution has hatched a bunch of critics of the Pac-12 who have had a string of cancelations combined with a delayed time frame allowing no weekend for makeups. Consequently, the Pac-12 season will end next weekend (with opponents still to be determined) with few of the schools completing as many as seven games the truncated season aimed for.
The Bears are currently 1-3 and can’t finish with at least a .500 record ruling out a bowl game appearance. Their COVID situation could hampet another team’s season-ending weekend as well as the conference has ruled out member teams playing outside competition.