The return of college football has caused controversy as the NCAA’s concern for players’ safety has been questioned as they push to start training.
Many college football teams have returned to campus for off-season workouts after being given permission by the NCAA. Football athletes at the University of Texas began workouts on June 8, and 13 players have since tested positive for coronavirus.
According to Texas spokesman John Bianco, athletes were immediately tested for COVID-19 upon their arrival on campus. They reported to the university earlier this month for voluntary workouts.
Texas has decided not to disclose the names of the players and have not mentioned what impact this could have on their upcoming NCAA season.
The 13 players who tested positive are being quarantined in isolation, while four other players tested positive for the COVID-19 antibodies. The university is keeping a close eye on another 10 players who appear to be asymptomatic after coming in contact with those who tested positive.
Chris Del Conte, Texas’ athletic director, assures the public they will be releasing the reported number of cases as they get approval to do so. As of last week, only two of their players had tested positive for the virus, and one other player tested positive for the antibodies.
According to Texas policies, the only way players that test positive for COVID-19 will be able to come back to campus is if they are symptom-free without the use of medication.
Athletes at many other universities have also been reported to test positive for the coronavirus in the past few weeks. On June 5, five Alabama players were reported to test positive for COVID-19, as well as three Oklahoma State football players.
Four more athletes at two different Florida universities had reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 on June 9.
Prior to the start of voluntary workouts, Texas had canceled all of its spring workouts and closed its practice facilities. This was done before Texas Governor Greg Abbott‘s stay-at-home order went into effect on March 30.
Austin Public Health has issued a statement regarding their plan to issue a contract with Dell Medical School to conduct tracing for Texas students and staff who test positive when community members return in the fall semester.
Texas has said in a public statement that they are continuing to seek guidance from epidemiologists and other medical experts to ensure their safety measures for coronavirus continue to improve.
A Floridian’s Perspective
On Saturday, Florida reported 4,049 new coronavirus cases, which is now a new single-day coronavirus record after already breaking the original record the day before.
Being a Gen-Zer myself, I have been extra careful in caring for those at a higher risk for severe symptoms like my parents and my elderly aunt. I have only left my home a handful of times in the past three months and never for anything but necessities.
It is extremely frustrating to see the majority of individuals at grocery stores, restaurants, bars, and other public venues without any face masks or care for what they are touching. New York had only begun Stage 1 of their return to “normal” last week, while Florida residents have been able to go to hair salons and restaurants for over a month.
With the rush to open facilities and the disregard for public health by many individuals, it is not surprising to see such a large spike in COVID-19 cases – especially in Florida.
As I bear witness to the evident neglect of the current health crisis, it is also not surprising to see the number of college football players who have tested positive for COVID-19. As many facemask policies are recommended and not mandatory, it allows college students the autonomy to decide for themselves.
It has been clear in Florida, through the freedom we’ve been awarded, that Gen-Zers and Millennials have been avid in avoiding COVID-19 regulations. As coronavirus cases continue to grow, I do not think it is wise to allow a contact sport made up of college athletes to return to campus and nonetheless – to play.
College students are not being allowed on campus; even those taking summer courses must continue learning online. It is unclear whether the university’s priority is their athletes’ health or beginning the season on time.