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Texas-Kansas canceled as Horns shut down football operations due to COVID-19

Game first scheduled for Nov. 21 pushed to Saturday, now ruled 'no contest'

Saturday's Texas-Kansas game is on hold again; the game, originally scheduled for Nov. 21, was initially delayed because of COVID-19 protocol issues with the Jayhawks, but this week it's been the Longhorns dealing with positive tests.

Saturday’s regular-season finale between No. 23 Texas and Kansas was canceled Thursday and ruled a “no contest” as the Longhorns shut down their football program amid COVID-19 protocols. 

The Longhorns had nine athletes and 13 staff members test positive this week, according to UT athletic director Chris Del Conte, and all are in self-isolation. An additional 29 people are in quarantine for contract tracing at this time.

As it stands, Texas (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) will post its first nine-game regular season since 1944. The program will now look toward a bowl game, Del Conte said. Kansas was 0-9.

“We will continue daily testing, monitor the situation and adhere to all of the medical team’s health and safety protocols as we move forward with an abundance of caution in this situation,” Del Conte said in a statement. 

“We’re extremely disappointed that we won’t be able to play our final regular season game at Kansas this week,” he added, “but look forward to returning to action for our bowl game in the coming weeks.”

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The Big 12 announced the game was considered a “no contest” and would not be rescheduled. The league also announced Thursday that the Oklahoma-West Virginia game would also be canceled and not rescheduled due to an outbreak with the Mountaineers.

The Texas-Kansas game was first scheduled for Nov. 21 but was pushed back because of too many positives at Kansas. Now, the cancelation is because of problems at UT. 

The Longhorns announced Sunday that three players and two staff members had tested positive after traveling with the team to Manhattan, Kan. Per UT health guidelines, players and staffers can travel if they test negative before the game — and all did.

However, the tests came back positive when UT returned home, the school said. Texas tests all athletes and staff members three times a week in accordance with Big 12 guidelines. 

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But Texas had more positives on Monday during a second round of testing, according to two sources. Team activities were paused Monday and Tuesday, and the Longhorns had a light workout on Wednesday.

UT doctors and trainers watched those people and got more test results back Thursday. Del Conte and school officials had to make a final decision.

The school does not release the names of who tested positive as it would violate federal privacy laws. 

Even though Texas and Kansas won’t play, it will have no bearing on who makes the Big 12 championship game. The league is going to take a financial hit, though. The Big 12 earns about $3.5 million from its television partners for every Big 12 game.

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.