WSU vs. Stanford football game canceled

WSU was not able to meet the scholarship athlete minimum of 53 players



WSU Athletics Director Pat Chun said the failure to meet the roster requirement was not only because of COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

CODY SCHOELER, Evergreen reporter

The Pac-12 announced Friday that Saturday’s game between WSU and Stanford will be canceled due to WSU not being able to meet the scholarship athlete minimum threshold of 53 players.

WSU Athletics Director Pat Chun said when the team found out they were going to be underneath the 53-man minimum threshold for scholarship athletes, he notified the conference, which then subsequently canceled the game on Saturday.

Chun said it was a disappointing day for the football program, and it was heartbreaking having to tell the coaches and players they would not be able to play this weekend.

“Unfortunately, it’s just a byproduct of where we’re at in 2020 with managing everything related to having a football season during a pandemic,” he said.

There are currently nine student-athletes in the COVID-19 protocol, Chun said. Four of those student-athletes were already on the list when the test results came back around 11 a.m.

Chun said the team had zero athletes in the protocol when they played Oregon, meaning all nine cases were from this week. He said he believes the first case occurred Monday.

The failure to meet the roster requirement was due to a myriad of factors, Chun said, not just COVID-19 testing and contact tracing.

Another reason is opt-outs and transfers, including senior defensive end Will Rodgers, who entered the transfer portal earlier this week. There have also been several players who opted out of the season. Chun did not provide an exact number of players who opted out.

Injuries also played a role with players like junior running back Max Borghi, redshirt junior edge rusher Willie Taylor III and redshirt senior wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr.

Head coach Nick Rolovich expressed his disappointment with the decision and what it means for the players.

“They have battled through so much this year,” he said. “We had a good week of practice and we’re excited to play this game. I recognize the pain they feel with this lost opportunity, but this 2020 football team is a resilient group of young men.”

Chun said they are not sure about the Apple Cup matchup on Nov. 27 against the University of Washington. He said they will begin the process of figuring out if they can play that game Nov. 29.

Chun said it is too early to speculate on whether the Apple Cup will be moved from Nov. 27 to Nov. 28.

“Our league’s flexibility has been a key tenet in how we try to manage through this season,” he said. “I will assume the league will continue to have as much flexibility as possible.”