Could Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns football team's COVID-19 spike impact UL Monroe game too?

Tim Buckley
Lafayette Daily Advertiser

UL’s game Saturday against Central Arkansas has been canceled due to COVID-19 issues with the Ragin’ Cajuns’ program.

Thirty-three student-athletes are in COVID protocol, either recovering from the virus or due to contact tracing. About half of the 33 tested positive, according to UL athletic director Bryan Maggard.

Which begs the question: Is the No. 25 Ragin’ Cajuns’ game Nov. 28 at in-state rival UL Monroe be impacted too?

Maggard isn’t sure.

“We don’t have any decision … on the ULM game at this time,” he said while addressing media members in a Zoom teleconference Tuesday afternoon, when the Cajuns still were awaiting results of additional testing performed Wednesday.

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“We’ll see … what we’re able to do from a practice standpoint moving forward. But, depending on our activity situation, that will really dictate what we can do.

“So,” Maggard added, “it’s a little bit of a wait and see.”

Maggard left open the possibility the UL-ULM game could rescheduled for December, if necessary.

The Cajuns (7-1, 5-1 Sun Belt), coming off last Saturday’s 38-10 win over South Alabama, stopped practicing Tuesday and won’t resume until Saturday at the earliest.

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Any more lost days of practice, though, could impact the UL schedule beyond this weekend.

The Cajuns are scheduled to close the regular season Dec. 4 at Appalachian State and, as winner of the Sun Belt West Division for a third straight year, to play in the Dec. 19 SBC championship game at a site to-be-determined.

The App State game was rescheduled from earlier in the year due to a COVID-19 outbreak in the Mountaineers’ program.

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Athletic director Bryan Maggard, right, celebrates UL's September win over Georgia Southern at Cajun Field with deputy AD Nico Yantko.

On Monday, meanwhile, ULM canceled its scheduled non-conference game with Louisiana Tech – which had been scheduled for Saturday at a neutral site in Shreveport – due to what it called “continuing COVID-19 concerns within the Warhawk program.”

An eventful start of the week for the Warhawks also saw starting quarterback Colby Suits announce via Twitter on Monday that he’s opting out for the season’s final three games and has entered the NCAA transfer portal. Backup Jeremy Hunt replaced Suits against Georgia State and went 26-of-39 for 339 yards and three touchdowns in ULM’s 52-34 loss last Saturday at Georgia State.

Like UL, Louisiana-Monroe (0-8, 0-5 Sun Belt) also has shut down practice for the week.

The Warhawks, coach Matt Viator said in a statement released by the team, plan to “resume normal football activities this weekend while turning its attention to the home finale on Nov. 28 against Louisiana Lafayette.”

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The Warhawks previously canceled their Nov. 14 game against Arkansas State as well, also because of COVID issues inside the ULM program. It first was rescheduled for Dec. 12, then subsequently was rescheduled again for Dec. 5.

ULM additionally adjusted its schedule and now is slated to close its regular season Dec. 17, a Thursday night, at Troy.

That leaves a possible open date for the Cajuns and Warhawks to meet should they be unable to play two days after Thanksgiving.

“If we can play that game (Nov. 28), we’ll play the game,” Maggard said. “If by chance we’re not able to play on Nov. 28, we’ll look to reschedule that game on Dec. 12.”

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