Georgia State did not make its scheduled trip to Charlotte for Saturday's game, as the Panthers announced Friday that "due to positive COVID tests and contact tracing," the game would be postponed.
However, the program announced Sunday that the game never should have been canceled in the first place.
Georgia State tests its players and staff three times a week, and Monday and Wednesday's rounds produced zero positives, the school explained. When Thursday's round became available Friday afternoon, the school found four positives and, due to contact tracing, 16 players and one coach who would have to go into quarantine.
"These were our first positive test results in three weeks among our athletics programs, which since April have experienced a positivity rate of 1.7 percent," Georgia State AD Charlie Cobb said. "Out of an abundance of caution for the rest of our team and Charlotte, we could not in good conscience put our team on the bus and play a game."
Georgia State conducted another round of testing on the four identified positives, and learned Friday night that all four were negative. Georgia State was also informed that all four of Thursday's positives were actually negative as well.
"It was at this point that the lab director informed our medical staff that a human error Friday morning caused the error in test results," Cobb said.
As a result, Georgia State will resume practice on Monday to begin preparations for this coming Saturday's game with East Carolina.
The cancelation was Charlotte's second straight, having lost a much-anticipated game with North Carolina the week prior.
The entire episode is an example of the extraordinarily high bar college football teams must exceed to play a game this fall. Georgia State could have played without the four false-positive players, but it was contact tracing that (erroneously, it turns out) canceled the game.
This is why administrators and officials are so excited about antigen testing. Doing daily tests will allow schools to find positive cases while the virus is still in its incubation period, thereby eliminating the burden of contact tracing since infected persons can isolate themselves before they are infectious.
Schools doing antigen testing are also planning to confirm positive tests with lab-confirmed PCR tests.
Unfortunately for Charlotte and Georgia State, no failsafe can perfectly double check against human error.
As always, stay tuned to The Scoop for the latest.