Notre Dame-Wake Forest postponed due Irish’s COVID-19 outbreak

The two teams both have open dates Oct. 3 and Dec. 12

(Eamon Queeney / North State Journal)

Notre Dame’s game at Wake Forest on Saturday has been postponed after positive COVID-19 tests landed 13 Fighting Irish players in isolation and another 10 in quarantine.

The seventh-ranked Fighting Irish said Tuesday the game would be rescheduled. Both teams are off Oct. 3 and Dec. 12.

Notre Dame said 94 football players were tested for COVID-19 on Monday and of those seven were positive. Those players were in isolation along with others who tested positive last week.

The school is pausing all football-related activities until further testing is complete.

“We managed an increase in positivity rates in August, and the players handled it wonderfully,” Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. “We knew COVID would present challenges throughout the season, and we’ll always put student-athlete health and safety at the forefront of our decision making. We look forward to resuming team activities and getting back on the playing field.”

Notre Dame (2-0) opened the season with two home games and held several players out of last week’s victory against South Florida without explanation.

The game is the 18th involving major college football teams to be postponed or canceled by COVID-19 issues since Aug. 26 and the third Atlantic Coast Conference game (NC State at Virginia Tech and Virginia at Virginia Tech were rescheduled).

Wake Forest athletic director John Currie said the school is discussing scheduling options with the ACC and future opponents, which could include playing next weekend.

“I know everyone involved is saddened to be unable to play this weekend, but based on the circumstances it is the right decision,’ Currie said.

The game was originally scheduled to be played in Charlotte at the home of the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. It was moved to Winston-Salem as Wake Forest planned to open football and other fall sports with essentially no fans in attendance due to health guidelines amid the pandemic.

The game being moved back means Wake Forest could have some fans in the stands when Notre Dame does visit. Gov. Roy Cooper announced the state would allow outdoor venues with more than 10,000 capacity to fill to 7% capacity starting on Oct. 2. Truist Field hold 31,500, so under the soon-to-be enacted executive order, Wake Forest could allow just over 2,200 fans at home games.