COLUMBUS, Ohio — If the start of the Big Ten Conference football season lulled you into a false sense of security, this week has been quite a wake-up call.
The latest episode came about 8:30 p.m. Thursday night with the first reports that Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence tested positive for the coronavirus. Tigers coach Dabo Swinney confirmed Lawrence was experiencing mild symptoms, had isolated at his residence and will not play Saturday at Boston College.
The Heisman Trophy front-runner quarterback for the No. 1 team in the country, and the potential No. 1 pick in April’s 2021 NFL Draft in Cleveland, has COVID-19. He also may not play next week against Notre Dame in a potential top-five matchup with major College Football Playoff ramifications.
Lawrence reportedly tested positive on Wednesday, the same day Wisconsin announced it would not be able to play Saturday’s game at Nebraska due to its own outbreak. The program said Thursday the number of infected individuals has grown to 16 players and staff.
The Big Ten made it through one weekend before its first cancellation. But it was the 37th game either wiped out or cancelled due to positive tests or contact tracing issues.
Positivity rates continue to climb across the country. The U.S. established a high for new infections on Thursday with 86,000, breaking the record set last Friday. That included a record 3,590 from Ohio, topping the previous high mark set last Sunday by about 700.
The only thing we can be completely sure of is this virus will affect each week of the college football season from here on in. It will happen either in small ways, such as the increased mix of diligence and paranoia that inhabits each team, or major ones such as this week’s announcements from Wisconsin and Clemson.
New Ohio State face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Ohio State-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection. A 3-pack is available on Fanatics for $29.99.
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