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Tech still mum on player testing

Virginia Tech football fans are hoping the Hokies will be back on the field sometime in the next 30 days, but that may well happen with more COVID-19 preventative measures.

 

By Marty Gordon

NRVsports@ourvalley.org

Power 5 conferences are seeing football players make their way back to campus, and Virginia Tech is one of those. Blacksburg officials have remained quiet, however, on whether any of the Hokies players have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Instead Pete Moris, Tech’s associate athletics director, refers queries to a statement released three weeks ago. “The release is all that I’m permitted to share at this time (about Virginia Tech),” Moris said on Friday.

“Our foremost priority continues to be the health and welfare of our student-athletes and staff, as well as Virginia Tech and surrounding communities,” said Dr. Mark Rogers, Chief Medical Officer for Virginia Tech Athletics. “We will continue to evaluate our protocols to ensure these workouts are conducted in strict adherence with current health and safety guidelines.”

Rogers said student-athletes wishing to participate will undergo screening protocols prior to being cleared to participate and will be monitored on a daily basis.

In conjunction with Mike Goforth and Tech’s Sports Medicine team, all participating athletes and staff will wear recommended personal protective equipment upon entering team facilities. “An abundance of caution will be utilized to ensure all equipment is sanitized appropriately between workout groups,” Rogers said.

Other Power 5 schools have seen positive results from testing of football players, and some have taken action. For instance, Clemson has reported as many as 37 players and staff have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Clemson Athletics has released a statement saying they are monitoring 19 active COVID-19 cases as of June 26, concluding a week in which 28 individuals who had previously tested positive have now completed a minimum 10-day isolation period. Through June 26, there have been no hospitalizations for any individual within Clemson Athletics related to COVID-19, and approximately half of the cases have been asymptomatic.

Clemson reports it has completed 430 tests thus far since June 1 with a total of 47 positive results. Nineteen new cases were identified since the previously announced update on June 19, fourteen of whom were football student-athletes.

Kansas State has shut down its workouts until at least mid-July after two positive cases in their final group morphed into four and then eight before leaping to 14, as nearly half the team needed to be checked again.

KState was the first school from a Power5 conference to shut down football activities. Two Football Bowl Subdivision schools did the same after outbreaks among their athletes with Houston making the decision June 12 and Boise State on June 20.

Division II Morehouse College canceled football and cross country for the fall, according to an announcement late last week, because of similar concerns.

Positive tests have been confirmed at 23 of the 130 Football Bowl Series’ schools, but some public schools — including Virginia Tech, Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina — have not released testing data of their athletes,

The bigger question is whether the recent outbreaks will affect the overall college football season. For most, practices will probably not start until mid-July at the earliest.

The future of Hokies football will remain up in the air while testing continues as more players return to campus.

 

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