The University of South Alabama has paused its football workouts because of COVID-19 issues, and Saturday’s “Battle for the Belt” game between Troy University and South Alabama has been postponed, both schools announced Tuesday.
The Jaguars will be pausing football workouts on a temporary basis. No makeup date has been announced for the game.
“This postponement is unfortunate, however it’s prudent and wise,” said USA athletic director Joel Erdmann. “Our most significant concern is the well-being of our student-athletes. We are looking forward to hosting Troy at Hancock Whitney Stadium at a date to be determined. We appreciate the collaboration and understanding of Troy, and the leadership of the Sun Belt Conference office in working through this situation.”
South is next scheduled to play host to Texas State on Saturday, Oct. 17.
“We are obviously disappointed for our team but certainly respect this decision,” Troy athletic director Brent Jones said. “This is a tremendous rivalry game for both teams and fan bases, and I appreciate South Alabama Athletics Director Joel Erdmann and the Sun Belt Conference for their open lines of communication during this process. We look forward to welcoming our great fans back to The Vet on Oct. 10 when we host Texas State in our home opener.”
Troy, South Alabama and the Sun Belt Conference will work together to determine if there is a mutual date that the game could be rescheduled later in the season.
South Alabama defeated Southern Mississippi University on opening day but lost to Tulane and UAB. South Alabama played UAB on Sept. 24. USA has not released whether any of their players in that game against UAB have tested positive for coronavirus.
Troy will play against Texas State on Oct. 10 at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Troy.
It’s the first virus-related postponement for the Jaguars, who have also “paused” football practice and workouts indefinitely. South Alabama also paused off season football workouts for roughly a week in mid-July. The school has declined to announce the number of players and/or staffers who have tested positive for COVID-19, though a handful of players have been unavailable for undisclosed reasons in the Jaguars’ last two games.
Troy (1-1) has already had its Sept. 5 opener against the University of Louisiana Monroe postponed until Dec. 5 due to a COVID outbreak on the Warhawks’ team.
South Alabama and Troy do not have a common open date until at least Dec. 12. This makes re-scheduling the game difficult. The latest date the Sun Belt Conference championship game could take place is Dec. 19, with the final bowl pairings set to be released the following day.
Auburn University had its home opener vs. Kentucky on Saturday and will play Georgia on Saturday. The University of Alabama will have its home opener Saturday in Tuscaloosa vs Texas A&M.
The NFL has had to postpone the Pittsburgh Steelers at the Tennessee Titans game this week after Titans players and staff tested positive for the coronavirus. The NFL hopes to play that game Monday or Tuesday.
There have been 13,558 cases of coronavirus in Mobile County, the second most in the entire state, trailing only Jefferson County, which has a larger population. Mobile County has had 748 people diagnosed with the virus in just the last week. 295 people have died of COVID-19 in Mobile County, which also trails only Jefferson County.
The state of Alabama has had 154,701 coronavirus cases and 2,540 COVID-19 deaths in the pandemic. At least 1,019,065 people worldwide have died from COVID-19.