CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) - Just two days ahead of the Sun Belt Championship game, Coastal Carolina University announced a fan’s worst fear: the game had been canceled.
According to the CCU athletic department, a positive test within the Chants program has caused a position group to become quarantined.
“When the positive test comes back and you follow the guidelines in place with contract tracing that’s sort of what ends up getting you,” said head coach Jamey Chadwell during a Friday news conference.
Chadwell also said there were three positive tests in total, training from players, staff and team administration. In order to follow CDC and conference guidelines, many players need to quarantine, keeping the Chants from hitting the teal turf on Saturday.
CCU athletic director Matt Hogue also acknowledged how tough this is for the program.
“We’re obviously devastated that we don’t get to play the championship game. None more devastated than our group here and obviously our players,” he said.
Still, Chadwell said he’s thankful they’ve made it this far in the season without any other issues. The team did have some positive cases over the summer that interrupted summer practices.
Now, the Chants are looking forward to finding out where they will play the program’s first-ever bowl game. Chadwell says they’ll test the players involved again in a week. If none of the tests come back positive, they’ll be right back at preparing for another game.
“We’re the only 11-0 team in the country and currently the only undefeated team in the history of the Sun Belt,” he said.
Despite the disappointment, Chadwell says this season still is exceeding expectations. The team’s historic season has propelled the program and the conference forward.
“We did everything we’re supposed to do on the field when no one expected it. We’re America’s team and everybody knows about the Chanticleers,” he said.
The team will learn its bowl season fate this weekend. The Sun Belt Conference said it recognizes CCU and Louisiana-Lafayette as co-champions for 2020, but the College Football Playoff Committee will consider the Chanticleers the champion for bowl placement purposes.