According to reporting from Stephen Bailey of Syracuse.com, Syracuse football players sat out the last two days of practice (Thursday and Friday) due to discomfort with COVID-19 safety guidelines of the ACC and Liberty — Syracuse’s one non-conference opponent.
Syracuse was supposed to open fall camp on Thursday; however, players stayed inside and held team meetings instead. That continued on Friday, too.
Syracuse football’s players wouldn’t practice Thursday over concerns about playing during COVID-19 & instead held team meetings, @Stephen_Bailey1 reports. Players comfortable w/SU’s rules, but worried about safety guidelines of ACC schools & Liberty, SU’s nonconference foe
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 7, 2020
(Liberty, as you may remember, made new in March when the school opened its campus back up to student following spring break, while most of the country was locking down. To the surprise of no one, at least one student tested positive after returning to campus. Liberty University’s president, Jerry Falwell Jr., who made to decision to have students return, took an indefinite leave of absence from the university on Friday after a viral photo caused a stir.)
As a result, Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack issued statement, which urged the ACC to increase testing for the conference’s football players.
Our strategy includes frequent COVID-19 testing and comprehensive resources and services to support the mental, physical and emotional well-being of our student-athletes.”\
Syracuse Athletics unequivocally supports our student-athletes in determining whether or not they are comfortable competing this year. We will continue to support student-athlete scholarships, regardless of their intention to compete, as helping them achieve their academic goals is our main focus and priority.
This strong move from Syracuse football players come during a time of important play organizing efforts around the college football universe. Last week, a group of Pac-12 threatened to sit out the 2020 season with a list of demands regarding COVID-19 testing policies and safety measure, NIL rights, insurance for six years after eligibility, and social justice reform.
Earlier this week, a group of Big Ten players decided to follow with a similar list of demands.
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) August 5, 2020
Syracuse is also set to not have any fans at home games this season due to a decision made by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Those levels of precaution won’t be taken at every ACC home football venue, though.