USC football player tests positive for coronavirus, team says

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The lines of the Utah Utes and the USC Trojans clash after a snap during their game November 21, 2020 at Rice Eccles Stadium in Logan, Utah. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

The lines of the Utah Utes and the USC Trojans clash after a snap during their game November 21, 2020 at Rice Eccles Stadium in Logan, Utah. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

A USC football player tested positive for the coronavirus Monday, marking the team’s first infection of the abbreviated season and potentially putting this week’s game in jeopardy.

The positive test came after the No. 19 ranked Trojans returned from Salt Lake City, where they defeated the Utah Utes Saturday night to bring their record to 3-0.

The infected individual, who traveled with the team, is experiencing symptoms and in quarantine, according to a team statement on Tuesday morning.

USC officials have not identified the player. They said he previously tested negative for the virus four times: once on game day and three times within 36 hours of traveling to Utah.

He was not at the team’s facilities nor at practice on Sunday or Monday.

No other tests came back positive.

“USC Student Health, Utah Athletics and the Pac-12 have been notified,” the statement read. “The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will be notified [Tuesday].”

It’s unclear whether the team’s upcoming game Saturday against the Colorado Buffaloes — the only other undefeated team left in the Pac-12 South — will go on as scheduled at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

USC is the latest team to report a COVID-19 case.

The Pac-12’s season, which only began Nov. 7, has gotten off to a rocky start, with multiple games canceled in the first three weeks of the shortened season due to the virus.

The conference managed to salvage UCLA’s game in week 2, pitting the Bruins against California in a last-minute pairing at the Rose Bowl after their respective opponents — Utah and Arizona State — couldn’t play due to outbreaks of the virus.

In fact, Saturday’s game against USC was Utah’s first this season.

The Pac-12 has already canceled one game this week, announcing Monday that the matchup between Washington and Washington State won’t happen this Friday because the latter team doesn’t have enough scholarship athletes due to coronavirus cases and the resulting isolation of players.

It’s unclear whether their traditional rivalry game — known as the Apple Cup — will be rescheduled for a later date.

As of Tuesday morning, the conference has not commented on USC’s positive test.

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