In what was a "crushing" decision, the Charlotte 49ers game at 12th-ranked North Carolina on Saturday has been canceled due to a contact tracing quarantine on the 49ers' offensive line.
According to a statement released by the 49ers, several members of the offensive line are in quarantine following UNC Charlotte's COVID-19 contact tracing protocols. That effectively decimated the number of offensive linemen the 49ers would have had available for Saturday's game against the Tar Heels.
"I was hoping that a couple of injured guys may be able to suit up for us," 49ers coach Will Healy said on the SEC Network's "Paul Finebaum Show." "But I didn't feel good about that. We wanted to do everything humanly possible to play the game, but ultimately we ran out of options."
49ers athletics director Mike Hill said he made the call to to Bubba Cunningham, his counterpart at UNC, on Thursday morning.
"It's a crushing decision," Hill said. "To have to pull the plug has been agonizing. But it's the right decision."
The decision came after three positive cases were reported from Charlotte football players over the past two weeks, including one Monday of the 200 Charlotte athletics department athletes, coaches and staff members tested that day. That player's positive test - and the subsequent contact tracing - caused the cancellation.
Hill confirmed that player also tested negative on Wednesday. Even with the negative test, the player still must remain in quarantine for 14 days.
"You cannot - quote unquote - test out of quarantine," Hill said. "We have to rely on our medical experts. Our (Conference USA) rules and health guidelines don't allow for us to permit a negative test to cancel out a positive test. The reason for that is because the 14-day quarantine is designed to allow for potential development of a positive, even very late in the 14-day period."
Charlotte still plans on playing its home opener on Sept. 26 against Georgia State.
"The ones who were quarantined last week, if they complete their 14-day cycle and don't demonstrate any positivity in their test results next week, they'll be able to play," Hill said. "We're hopeful and optimistic that we'll able to do that."