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Are San Jose State's postseason plans violating Santa Clara County quarantine rules?

Nick Bromberg
·2-min read

Is San Jose State violating Santa Clara County orders with its bowl plans?

The Spartans (6-0) won the Mountain West championship on Saturday over Boise State. The game was played in Las Vegas because San Jose State is prevented from playing home games in Santa Clara County due to the county’s coronavirus restrictions prohibiting sports and other large gatherings.

The county’s coronavirus restrictions also extend to travel. Those who travel into the county are required to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival back into the county. And that’s posing a potential problem.

San Jose State heading to Arizona Bowl

San Jose State is set to play in the Arizona Bowl on Dec. 31. That’s 12 days after the MWC title game. The short turnaround coupled with the county’s restrictions has the county’s public health office investigating San Jose State’s post-championship itinerary.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

School spokesman Kenneth Mashinchi said Monday evening SJSU based its travel plan on county directives that allowed players and staff who live outside Santa Clara County to leave immediately after landing instead of having to quarantine for 10 days.

However, [county executive Dr. Jeff Smith] said everyone who traveled to the county from Las Vegas is supposed to quarantine for 10 days “without exception.”

“You shouldn’t be with other people; you should be isolating by yourself,” he said, adding that meeting family members for the holidays also is wrong. “Celebrating doesn’t meet that criteria,” Smith said.

A strictly enforced 10-day isolation and quarantine period for every member of the team would mean that the team couldn’t meet or practice until the day before it is supposed to leave for the bowl game on Dec. 30.

San Jose State cornerback Nehemiah Shelton holds the trophy while celebrating with teammates after defeating Boise State in an NCAA college football game for the Mountain West championship, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
San Jose State won the Mountain West title on Saturday. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Potential punishment from the county?

If the county discovers that San Jose State violated the orders it could face discipline. The Mercury News even raises the possibility — even if it sounds extreme — that the health department could prevent the team from traveling to the bowl game.

San Jose State traveled back to campus so that players could have a chance to take a break for a few days and potentially see family members instead of going straight to Tucson from Las Vegas and spending Christmas on the road. The Spartans have been away from campus since Santa Clara’s strict restrictions were imposed earlier in the month. The ban against contact sports has forced SJSU, Stanford and the San Francisco 49ers to practice and play outside of the county.

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