UTEP suspends football operations, Southern Mississippi game canceled

UTEP+senior+cornerback+and+sophomore+offensive+lineman+Andrew+Meyer+lead+the+Miners+on+to+the+field+against+the+University+of+North+Carolina+at+Charlotte+Oct.+24.

Courtesy of UTEP / Conner Putnam

UTEP senior cornerback and sophomore offensive lineman Andrew Meyer lead the Miners on to the field against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Oct. 24.

Michael Cuviello, Sports Editor

The UTEP Athletic department announced Sunday that all football operations will be suspended due to multiple COVID-19 positive tests with players on the roster. Saturday’s game against the Rice Owls was canceled the day of the game due to positive tests and contract tracing within the UTEP program.

Initially the Rice game originally scheduled to start at noon Saturday would be delayed pending a second round of testing participants, but two hours later the game was canceled.

For the Miners this is the second time this season that a game against Southern Mississippi has been canceled and the fifth game overall that will not be played as scheduled. Over the past two months the Miners have only been able to play one game. Depending on how tests and contract tracing turn out over the next week, the Dec. 12 home game versus the University of North Texas could be in jeopardy.

“During our recent COVID testing, multiple members of our football team tested positive for the virus, athletic director Jim Senter said following the Rice Cancellation. “  As a result, we determined that we would not be able to play the game against Rice “At the recommendation of our team doctors and Sports Medicine personnel, and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of everyone associated with our football program, we have suspended all team activities. “

“As a result, our home game against Southern Miss, scheduled for Friday, Dec. 4 has been canceled.  We will make a determination on the remainder of the season once we have received the results of our next regularly scheduled test.”

Football is not the only program that is experiencing cancellations due to COVID-19. The men’s basketball team had to cancel a  scheduled game Sunday at the University of Arizona due to a positive test within the program. With the next game for the Miners being Dec. 3 at home versus Arizona Christian, there has been no word from the athletic department if that game is in danger of being canceled.

There is a very distinct possibility that the UTEP footballs season is over and that the team has played its last game unless there is some positive news with COVID testing this coming week.  UTEP’s next opponent North Texas is scheduled to face a Louisiana Tech team with four straight games postponed due to COVID-19 on Dec. 3.

UTEP HEAD football coach will hold a news conference to address the game cancellations Monday.

Michael Cuviello may be reached at [email protected]