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Latest from Missouri: Tigers 'unlikely' to play in Music City Bowl

Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune
Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak (8) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a touchdown during a game against Georgia on Saturday at Faurot Field.

After a rise in coronavirus cases within the Missouri football program, the Tigers are "unlikely" to appear in Wednesday's TransPerfect Music City Bowl, multiple sources told the Tribune on Sunday.

The uptick in COVID-19 cases appeared after the latest round of tri-weekly testing. Players had returned to Columbia after having the option to return home to spend the Christmas holiday with family.

One source told the Tribune the Tigers have "more than a dozen" cases of COVID-19. The source added that Missouri's current coronavirus issues date back to the team's road trip to Mississippi State on Dec. 19, not the holiday recess.

With an already-thin roster due to opt-outs, injuries, transfers and players leaving for the NFL Draft, Missouri doesn't have enough players for its postseason game.

An official announcement of the Tigers' removal from the Music City Bowl is expected this afternoon, with head football coach Eli Drinkwitz and select players scheduled to talk with the media at 3:15 p.m.

Missouri's bowl opponent, Iowa, paused all football activities last week due to a rise in COVID-19 numbers within the Hawkeyes' program, but returned to practice on Saturday.

The Tigers will finish the season at 5-5.

The cancellation means Drinkwitz, in his first season leading Missouri, won't have the opportunity for postseason incentives. 

The 37-year-old could've earned a one-year extension and a $100,000 raise by defeating the Hawkeyes, according to his contract. Those bonuses occur if MU wins a bowl game or eight contests in either of his first two seasons.

This is a developing story. Check back later with the Tribune for more updates. 

eblum@columbiatribune.com

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