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Gators pause team activities after positive coronavirus tests

Florida scheduled to host LSU this weekend
Florida Gators tight end Kyle Pitts celebrates TD vs. South Carolina Gamecocks in 2020
Posted at 5:04 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 17:09:59-04

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida has paused all team activities after "an increase in positive COVID tests among players this week," athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement Tuesday.

"Head coach Dan Mullen has been in communication with football players and their parents, and I have had conversations with the Southeastern Conference office, last week's opponent Texas A&M, and this week's opponent LSU," Stricklin said.

The announcement comes just days before the 10th-ranked Gators (2-1, 2-1 SEC) are scheduled to host defending national champion LSU (1-2, 1-2).

After his team's loss at Texas A&M, Mullen said he hoped the university "decides to let us pack 'The Swamp' for LSU," citing the factor the crowd played in the upset.

Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen wearing mask on sideline at Texas A&M Aggies in 2020
Florida head coach Dan Mullen calls to his offense before a snap against Texas A&M during the first half, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in College Station, Texas.

But University of Florida President Kent Fuchs said the school "remains fully and firmly committed" to following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

That includes requiring masks and limiting capacity at Steve Spurrier-Florida Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, which seats 88,548.

Florida is currently allowing 20% of its listed capacity -- about 17,000 fans -- to attend home games.

Earlier in the day, Florida announced that the kickoff time for Saturday's game had been changed to 4 p.m.

"These circumstances will be re-evaluated by UF Health and the athletic department's sports medicine staff Wednesday," Stricklin said.