Vanderbilt-Missouri first SEC football game postponed by COVID-19

The Missouri-Vanderbilt football game scheduled for Saturday in Columbia, Missouri, has been postponed to a later date, tentatively Dec. 12, making it the first SEC game to be moved this season because of issues related to COVID-19.

Vanderbilt was down to 56 scholarship players last week in a 41-7 loss to South Carolina, and the school said Monday in a news release that the postponement of the Missouri game was due to a lack of scholarship athletes. The SEC's Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force stipulates that a team must have at least 53 scholarship players available to play a game, including seven offensive linemen (with one center), four defensive linemen and one quarterback.

Vanderbilt's shortage of available scholarship players was due to the quarantining of individuals with positive COVID-19 tests and those designated as close contacts, along with injuries and opt-outs, according to the school.

This is the 28th FBS game overall to be postponed or canceled since Aug. 26.

"The league and universities have been prepared for the likelihood of disruptions within the season while we navigate the various challenges and complexities of competing during a global pandemic," Vanderbilt vice chancellor for athletics Candice Lee said in a statement. "As always, we are committed to taking whatever steps necessary for the health and safety of our students and community."

Vanderbilt's next scheduled game is Oct. 31 at home against Ole Miss. The Commodores are 0-3.

Missouri is scheduled to face Florida on Oct. 24 in Gainesville, Florida. The Tigers are 1-2 after winning their first game of the season last week, 45-41 over defending national champion LSU.

"While we share in the disappointment that this Saturday's game will be postponed, our program is deeply appreciative of the tireless efforts put forth by student-athletes, university officials, conference administrators and medical experts who have risen to the challenge of helping us navigate these unprecedented circumstances," Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason said in a statement. "The safety and well-being of our student-athletes will remain a top priority as we continue this season, and we look forward to returning to competition."

Missouri coach Eliah Drinkwitz said they "absolutely understand" what happened to Venderbilt.

"These football contests can be made up," he said on the Paul Finebaum show Monday. "We're going to use it as a positive for us here at Mizzou. We'll use the week to get healthy. We'll use the week to improve. We'll use the week to get refocused on our academics. Then we'll use the week to get focused on our next opponent after that, which will be Florida."