Vasha Hunt/Associated Press
The Sun Belt championship game between Coastal Carolina and Louisiana has been canceled after Coastal Carolina had a positive test for COVID-19 within its program.
Per the press release, “Because of contact tracing, an entire position group would not be available to play due to possible exposure and therefore the game cannot be played.”
“We are very disappointed that the championship game cannot be played, but we are so proud of all of the players and staff members and their hard work during this truly challenging season,” Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill said in a statement. “We will honor both teams as 2020 Sun Belt Conference Co-Champions.”
The Sun Belt championship had been scheduled for Saturday.
It’s been a tough end to the season for Coastal Carolina, which also was ranked just 12th in the latest College Football Playoff poll despite being 11-0 on the season. It’s unlikely a second win over No. 19 Louisiana (9-1) would have gotten them anywhere close to a top-four finish and the College Football Playoff.
But it could have potentially catapulted them ahead of No. 9 Cincinnati (8-0), which hasn’t played in two weeks. That’s important—the top-ranked team from the American Athletic, Conference USA, MAC, Mountain West and Sun Belt conferences automatically qualifies for a berth in either the GoodYear Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl if they don’t get into the CFP.
The Bearcats face Tulsa on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET in the American Athletic Conference Championship Game. The Chanticleers hopes of leapfrogging Cincinnati are now entirely reliant on a Tulsa win. Tulsa, ranked No. 23, is unlikely to jump over both Cincy and Coastal Carolina with a win.