As the United State continues to grapple with COVID-19 — the global pandemic it’s failed to manage effectively since inception — college sports are trying to find some way to piece things together for the 2020-21 calendar year, despite enormous risk. With that, let’s take a quick circle around the country and the ACC to see where things stand, for now.
On Monday, Oklahoma State University announced that 110 football players have been tested for COVID-19 — with 14 positives. According to Kevin Klintworth, the university’s senior associate athletic director, only one active case remains among student-athletes.
— Kevin Klintworth (@KKlintworth) June 29, 2020
Earlier in June, Oklahoma State reported five positive cases, which were all asymptomatic. Once players test positive, they must quarantine for 14 days.
Elsewhere, things aren’t going well out in Arizona; the state has been crushed with an upsurge in COVID-19 cases. As a result, Arizona issued a new shutdown order this week for bars, clubs, water parks, gyms and movie theaters.
Pima County, which is home to Tucson and the University of Arizona, has been hit hard, too. With that, the University of Arizona, will stop — for now — bringing new student-athletes back to campus. So far, 83 student-athletes at the school have been tested, with one positive result. That’s lower than the overall positive rate for Pima County: 8.2 percent.
University of Arizona pauses bringing additional student-athletes back to campus, given increasing surge of positive COVID-19 cases in Pima County
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) June 30, 2020
Maricopa County, which neighbors Pima to the north, has been one of the worst hit counties in the entire country with regard to the coronavirus. According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, there have been over 45,000 cases in Maricopa (420,000 tests), alone: 747 deaths, 9.8 percent positive rate.
As was noted late last week, 14 more Clemson football players tested positive for COVID-19; that brought the three week total of positive tests for football players up to 37. Up to this point, no player or staff members has needed to be hospitalized.
No hospitalizations for anyone at Clemson, which includes other sports beyond just football. About half of the cases are asymptomatic.
— Grace Raynor (@gmraynor) June 26, 2020
The developments at Clemson and several other SEC programs allowed former NFL quarterback and radio host Boomer Esiason to go all Galaxy Brain on us, too. On his radio program, Esiason seemed to suggest that football players at these schools are contracting the virus on purpose. To be clear, this is a problematic accusation to make, and is something that shouldn’t be floated unless there’s actual credible evidence to support such claim.
Boomer Esiason strongly suggests that football players at Clemson and in the SEC are contracting Covid-19 on purpose right now, so they won't get it during the season.@WFANmornings pic.twitter.com/sp4RPnyfag
— Funhouse (@BackAftaThis) June 29, 2020
Last week, reports surfaced that at least 30 LSU players have quarantined due to COVID-19. That’s about 25 percent of the players in the program. Unfortunately, Louisiana is in the midst of a massive uptick in COVID cases, too.
The University of Texas recently announced that 13 football players have tested positive for the coronavirus. Similar to Arizona, the state of Texas has also seen a spike in positive COVID-19 cases. On Monday, Texas football coach Tom Herman released a PSA that implored state residents to wear masks and follow additional safety protocols.
Of course, the state of Florida, which is home to two ACC schools (Florida State and Miami), is also experiencing a surge in case numbers. Meanwhile, Republicans in the state still can’t decide if it’s a good idea to wear masks in public or not. (Hint: it is a good idea.) So, that’s not great.
Three weeks ago, Florida State made public that a couple football players have tested positive for COVID-19. According to a Sun Sentinel report, “An FSU official stated it is not releasing the number of positive test results to remain in compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.” Since then, there’s been no new public information regarding COVID-19 and FSU athletics.
Down in South Beach: the University of Miami hasn’t altered plans for a football season this fall, yet, despite record-setting numbers of coronavirus cases, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Jackson also notes, though, that Miami president Julio Frenk plans to keep options open if a change needs to be made. According to Jackson’s report, Miami-Dade’s mayor, Carlos Gimenez, said on Monday that he’s unconvinced that a fall football season in Florida will be achieved. (Earlier this month, Gimenez spoke more hopefully about the possibility of the Miami Dolphins playing football in 2020.)
The state of Virginia — home to Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia — offers some glimmer of hope, though. New cases of of the virus were on the decline, though there’s been some adjustment to that curve since last week, per the New York Times. The state is still on track for Phase 3 of reopening, which will start this week: July 1. Later this week, on Sunday (July 5), University of Virginia football players will start to return to campus, too.