Kentucky has now released a statement saying things are fine and the team is still on track to play in the Gator Bowl.
“We practiced yesterday. We practiced today. We are excited about and looking forward to playing in the 2020 TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. Anything you hear to the contrary needs to taken up with the source.” — a Kentucky spokesperson re: its participation in the postseason.— Josh Moore (@JoshMooreHL) December 22, 2020
The Athletic reporter Kyle Tucker says that Kentucky is ‘good’ right now, so it appears there’s no real concern the bowl game is in jeopardy.
From source at Kentucky: “No, we are good. Hell, if we went to Alabama (with that few players available), we’re playing this.” https://t.co/oENDwHNuNo— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) December 22, 2020
However, there’s no guarantee the Cats or pretty much any non-playoff team will be able to play in their respective bowls due to the threat of COVID-19.
We’ve already seen Tennessee forced to drop out of the Liberty Bowl vs. West Virginia due to the virus. South Carolina is also dropping out of its bowl due to COVID.
Is Kentucky in danger of having the same fate?
College football reporter Brandon Marcello seems to think that’s possible based on his most recent tweet.
Keep your eyes on #Kentucky and whether it is able to play in its bowl game.— Brandon Marcello (@bmarcello) December 22, 2020
Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Jon Hale says that there’s no issue right now, but because the Cats are taking some time off for Christmas, this will be something to monitor as they return to campus.
I'm told as of now there are no issues that would keep Kentucky from being able to play, but players are getting a few days off for Christmas. Will have to monitor situation when they get back. https://t.co/OiZyjwWA6O— Jon Hale (@JonHale_CJ) December 22, 2020
My guess is there’s some concern Kentucky players could contract the virus or come into contact with someone who has it while away from campus, which could put the bowl game in jeopardy.
Kentucky was getting hit hard by the virus over the final month of the season with dozens of players missing games, so they know good and well how the virus can wreak havoc within a program.
Still, it would be really unfortunate to see guys like Drake Jackson, Landon Young, Boogie Watson, Max Duffy, Terry Wilson, A.J. Rose and Brandin Echols not get to play one more game in a Kentucky uniform.
This will be something to monitor in the coming days as the Cats and Wolfpack won’t play until Jan. 2nd, so there’s still 11 days left before the Gator Bowl kicks off in Jacksonville.