SJSU football team headed to bowl game facing possible punishment for breaking quarantine rules

Photo Credit: SJSU Athletics
By Wesley Severson - Published on December 23, 2020.

The San Jose State Spartans football team is coming off what could arguably be their best regular-season performance in school history. But their epic undefeated championship season is being shrouded in controversy because the team appears to be breaking coronavirus travel guidelines put in place by Santa Clara County. 

According to those guidelines, anyone who travels more than 150 miles from Santa Clara County is required to quarantine on their return for 10 days.

The Spartans beat Boise State in the Mountain West Championship Game on Saturday in Las Vegas.

The team returned to the SJSU campus the next day and according to KPIX, after which the players were given the week off and allowed to go home to spend the holidays with their families.

To make matters worse, the Spartans plan to leave this Sunday for Tucson, Arizona where they will play Ball State University in the Arizona Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

That means, even if all the players had come back to San Jose and isolated, their trip to Tucson still puts them below the 10-day threshold. 

Santa Clara County Executive Dr. Jeff Smith told the Mercury News that San Jose State could face fines or even legal action for breaking the quarantine rules. Dr. Smith went as far as to say that it is possible the players could be blocked from boarding their plane to Tucson.

The university issued this statement Monday posted by ESPN: "SJSU scheduled travel in and out of San Jose to allow student-athletes and staff who live out of the county to leave immediately after arriving in the county. This follows county guidelines that allow individuals to pass through the county and not have to quarantine. Those staying in Santa Clara County will be quarantined at home."

“SJSU will be departing the county before the 10-day quarantine because the Arizona Bowl game has required meetings and pregame activities for participating teams. The team will travel by private charter to further prevent concerns of the potential spread of COVID-19.”

Santa Clara County and San Jose State have been at odds since the start of the season when county officials said they were disappointed over the team’s announcement that it would move team operations to Humboldt to play out their season.

At this point, the Spartans, who are ranked No. 19 in the nation, say they will board their plane Sunday with the hopes of capping off their amazing season with their first bowl game victory in years.

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