Vols pause team activities, opt out of Liberty Bowl due to COVID-19 issues

Orange and White Nation

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Vols announced Monday afternoon that due to Sunday’s COVID-19 test results, the football program has paused all team activities and will not play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl.

The university says that the test results showed an increase in positive cases among players and staff.

“The University of Tennessee extends its sincere appreciation to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and the city of Memphis and is disappointed it will not be able to fulfill its commitment on New Year’s Eve.”

University of Tennessee

Head coach Jeremy Pruitt also released a statement and confirms that he has tested positive for COVID-19:

“Earlier today, I was informed by our medical staff that I have tested positive for COVID-19, and I immediately began isolating at home. I am experiencing mild symptoms but doing fine. We are obviously disappointed that we will not be able to play in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl, but the health and safety of our student-athletes will always remain our top priority. I am especially proud of our team and medical staff in safely navigating through a unique season where we played all 10 of our regular-season games.” 

ESPN reports sources tell them Vols out of Liberty Bowl due to COVID-19 issues

PREVIOUS: ESPN’s Chris Low reports that Tennessee will not play in the Autozone Liberty Bowl due to head coach Jeremy Pruitt along with multiple players and coaches testing positive for COVID-19 (this according to sources).

Low says that the tests were conducted on Sunday, and the results came back on Monday morning after the Vols had accepted the bowl invitation. Those who tested positive within the program got retested Monday, to confirm the results.

Per Low’s article:

“Tennessee also conducted a second round of testing for everybody in the football program on Monday to be sure. The combination of positive tests and subsequent contact tracing doesn’t leave Tennessee with enough players or coaches to participate in the bowl game.”

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