COVID-19 strikes again as Georgia Southern's football game against Appalachian State, originally scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 14 at Paulson Stadium, has been postponed to help with student-athlete safety and welfare within the Mountaineers’ football program.
The Mountaineers shut down football operations on two separate occasions since the start of preseason practice. August 21st through the 23rd they shut down things after seven players and four staff members tested positive.
Most recently Appalachian State shut things down after announcing they had 19 active COVID-19 cases within the football program. 11 were students, and eight were staff members. The Mountaineers postponed their game with Louisiana until December 4th or 5th, and haven’t practiced in almost two weeks.
“Appalachian State AD Doug Gillen has been in touch with me for a while in regards to this,” said Georgia Southern Athletics Director Jared Benko. “They haven’t had a full practice since September 24th. They will still not be cleared as it is until next week. There really was no option.”
The two schools, with assistance from the Sun Belt Conference, have rescheduled the game for Saturday, Dec. 12, in Statesboro. Game time and broadcast information will be announced at a later date.
The Eagles now have only one open date between now and the Sun Belt Championship game on December 19th. The Eagles do not play this week, and the way things stand they would not play until October 24th at Coastal Carolina. Benko says there is a chance they Eagles may be able to play next weekend.
“I have been on the phones trying to see what options we have,” said Benko. “A few things have to fall in place, but there are some irons in the fire to try and pick up a game, or maybe move a current game up.”
Benko said the Eagles game Nov. 21st at Army will not be moved but said there is a chance they may be able to move the Florida International game, which is currently set for December 5th.
“We have to remain open and flexible,” said Benko. “I haven’t talked to FAU about moving off that day, but if the situation arises and it’s best for our program, and puts us in the best position for success then we will entertain anything.”
Benko went on to say he has talked to Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill about the possibility of teams playing on December 19th if they are not involved in the Sun Belt Championship if a makeup date is needed. He said Gill was non committal, but Benko is hopeful all measures will be taken to get in as many games as possible.
The Eagles (2-1, 1-1 SBC) will turn their attention next to their game at Coastal Carolina (3-0, 2-0 SBC) on Saturday, Oct. 24 in Conway, South Carolina.