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Utah football game against UCLA cancelled due to positive COVID-19 tests

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FILE - In this Oct. 19, 2019, file photo, Utah's Julian Blackmon (23) and Francis Bernard (13) celebrate after a play against Arizona State during the first half of an NCAA college football game. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

The Utah vs. UCLA football game scheduled for Saturday night has been cancelled. Jon Wilner broke the story on Twitter that was quickly confirmed by the Pac-12 Conference.

It said in part:

due to Utah not having the minimum number of scholarship players available for the game as a result of a number of positive football student-athlete COVID-19 cases and resulting isolation of additional football student athletes under contract tracing protocols.

The Pac-12 football conference previously cancelled the Cal at Arizona State game, also set for Saturday. Wilner said his source also said a Cal - UCLA game is a possibility, possibly on Sunday. He covers the Pac-12 conference.

In its announcement the Pac-12 said the cancellation is disappointing to players and fans but showed the cancellation protocols are working and safety is the top priority. No official announcement has been issued yet by the Pac-12 regarding possible alternate games this weekend at press time.

University of Utah Athletics sent the following:

Based on a high number of COVID-19 cases in the Utah football program, the resulting isolation of additional student-athletes due to contact tracing and on the recommendation of local and regional health officials, Utah will be unable to play its scheduled November 14 game at UCLA. With an additional positive result today there are currently 17 confirmed positive cases among Utah football student-athletes, coaches and staff and an additional 11 members of the program are now in quarantine due to contact tracing protocols, putting Utah below the Pac-12 threshold of 53 available scholarship student-athletes.

Utah Director of Athletics Mark Harlan has maintained communication with the Pac-12 and UCLA Athletics Director Martin Jarmond throughout the week about the football program's status, and the decision was made on Friday and announced by the Pac-12.

"Our community is especially hard-hit right now by this virus, and our team and our department have been doing everything possible to follow protocols and avoid the spread of the virus," said Harlan. "We were doing very well, day-by-day, and it is extremely difficult for our student-athletes and coaches that they will not be able to compete again this week. We also acknowledge the disappointment for our fans, and we know how upsetting it is for UCLA's football program. We have maintained close communication with UCLA and we were very hopeful this game would be played. As I have said from the beginning of the pandemic, the well-being and safety of our student-athletes remains our top priority and guides all of our decisions and we are following the recommendations of medical professionals."

"We went into this week knowing it was a day-to-day situation," said head coach Kyle Whittingham. "We have been doing everything we can under the circumstances to prepare for the game and follow all guidelines and protocols. As is always the case, the health and safety of our student-athletes come first."