COLUMBIA, Mo- On Sunday, the University of Missouri’s Athletic Director, Jim Sterk and Head Football Coach, Eli Drinkwitz addressed the press via zoom call.
Jim Sterk officially broke the news over zoom this afternoon that Missouri would not play Iowa in this year’s Music City Bowl. “I’m proud of this group of coaches and student athletes and were upset to see it end this way,” Sterk said. He explained that there were other options explored that would merely postpone the matchup, however it wasn’t possible with the tight bowl schedule.
Eli Drinkwitz’s message echoed Jim Sterk’s. He said his team was disappointed and that his guys were excited to travel to Nashville. “I hate it for our team,” Drinkwitz said. Coach was adamant that this breakout was not the fault of his players and staff and he doesn’t want to see them take the blame. “Our players didn’t do anything wrong; it’s just unfortunate we’re going through a global pandemic,” Drinkwitz said. Although it’s not confirmed, the outbreak, which has now reached double digits, likely occurred over the short holiday break, though the team did have one positive test before going to Starkville. According to Drinkwitz, the team had the option to go home to see their families for Christmas, and upon arrival back to Columbia on Christmas night, players and coaches took rapid antigen tests and PCR tests. “If allowing our players, who sacrificed so much throughout the season to play 10 games, to go home for Christmas cost us the ability to play in a bowl game, I’ll live with that choice,” Drinkwitz said.
Due to the number of positives, Drinkwitz said that the local health officials deemed it necessary to shut down activities for seven days. After hearing this, he knew it was a public health risk to travel to Nashville. While the players contracting the virus are experiencing mild symptoms or are currently asymptomatic, the staff has not been quite as lucky. Some of them are experiencing “not as mild” of symptoms, Drinkwitz said, who was quick to add that he hated to see the virus’ impact on families.
Despite the outbreak, Coach still had positive things to talk about, like the fact that his team finished 6th in the SEC after being picked 13th. Coach was happy to hear about the return of Keke Chism as well, which was announced earlier today.
Jim Sterk brought good news as well, he said that hopes to know the location of Missouri’s new indoor facility in January. Sterk also mentioned that Missouri’s health experts have said they expect the vaccine to be widely distributed by spring time and he hopes that will lead to a regular 2021 season.