Virginia Tech’s season opener against Virginia on Sept. 19 has been postponed because of “COVID-19 issues” at Virginia Tech, the school announced Saturday.
“After consultation with Atlantic Coast Conference officials, our counterparts at the University of Virginia, campus leadership at Virginia Tech and Dr. Mark Rogers, Chief Medical Officer for Virginia Tech Athletics, the mutual decision has been made to move the football game between Virginia Tech and Virginia at Lane Stadium to a later date stemming from COVID-19 issues at Virginia Tech,” Virginia Tech said in a statement.
Schedule Alert 🗓
Tech’s contest vs. UVA postponed, now set to open season vs. NC State on 9/26.
👉🏽 https://t.co/GKZ8CKynn4 #Hokies 🦃 pic.twitter.com/3o4vO4ZLY9
— Virginia Tech Football (@HokiesFB) September 12, 2020
Virginia Tech also said that it would pause football activities for four days.
The Hokies are now scheduled to play their first game Sept. 26 against NC State; that game was previously postponed from Sept. 12 because of an increase in coronavirus cases in the Wolfpack athletic department.
The Cavaliers’ first game will be Sept. 26 against Duke, the ACC announced. The date had been open for both teams. The schools were originally scheduled to play on Nov. 14.
The ACC also announced that Miami’s game at Louisville on Sept. 19 will be played at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC, while Georgia Tech’s home game against UCF remains at 3:30 p.m. and will air on ABC.
“The safety, as well as the physical and mental well-being of these young men and women entrusted to our care by their families remains our top priority,” Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said in a statement. “While we share the disappointment of everyone who hoped to begin the football season against our in-state rival, we remain optimistic that a full ACC football schedule can be played thanks to the flexibility the present format permits.”
Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente had alluded to issues during a Zoom call with reporters Wednesday, saying he didn’t think the Hokies would be able to play this weekend if they had to.
“I don’t know if we could, to be honest with you,” Fuente said. “I don’t know if we’d have made it. I figured someone would ask me if we could play today in this deal, and I’m going to tell you I don’t know the answer to that.”
On its web page, Virginia Tech reported Friday that it had 219 positive tests for the coronavirus in the previous seven days, putting its total infections at 633 since testing began Aug. 3. The numbers have risen steadily since students returned Aug. 24.
The school has not been releasing athlete-specific results.
Virginia released its latest numbers for athletes and athletic staff on Saturday, saying it has had five positive tests since the last update on Sept. 4. The school said four of the five positives were from students who recently returned to campus and that the football program has not had any positive results since the first report on July 24.
On Twitter, some of Virginia’s coaches offered praise for their players.
“It is really this simple… you either are committed to your team or you are not,” offensive line coach Garett Tujague tweeted. “There are those that can sacrifice for each other and then there are those that CAN NOT. The greatest thing is… You get to make that choice.”
Running backs coach Mark Atuaia noted the “grave sacrifices” by his players.
“My heart goes out to them because no one is giving merit to the [discipline] my young brothers have displayed since the pandemic hit,” he tweeted. “My UVA young brothers are AMAZING!!!”
Andrea Adelson contributed to this report.