A week after USF’s football team commenced voluntary on-campus workouts, the school has announced two Bulls players have tested positive for COVID-19.
Workouts will continue at the Morsani Practice Complex, where players are divided into groups of roughly 10, alternating between a makeshift weightlifting area under a tent and conditioning drills on the practice fields. Prior to the start of the workouts, all players and staff were tested for COVID-19 before being allowed access to the facilities.
Roughly 75 players have returned to campus for workouts so far.
“We continue to monitor very closely our student-athletes that have returned to campus and maintain diligent protocols outlined by our Infection Response Team — including screening, testing and sanitization — with the first priority being student-athletes’ health and safety,” new coach Jeff Scott said in a statement released by the university.
“We will continue to follow the guidance of our sports medicine professionals and university, state and local authorities while allowing student-athletes who have been cleared to continue voluntary workouts in small groups with strict protocols.”
In a state reporting more than 2,500 new positive cases of COVID-19 a day over the past week, Wednesday’s announcement was hardly surprising. It coincides with a report from Texas — USF’s season-opening opponent — that at least six Longhorns players have tested positive for COVID-19 since their voluntary workouts began.
Just last week, Scott told reporters his staff has been trying to think through “a thousand different scenarios” in the event of positive player tests, especially during the season.
“But I think the biggest thing for us is honestly a day-by-day approach,” he said.
“I really believe personally that these next two weeks are gonna say a lot as football teams all over the country start getting back and working out; we’re gonna learn a lot in the next two weeks. And hopefully there’s a lot of good results that come from that that hopefully will show us a little bit clearer path into July and August.”
Contact tracing around positive tests and regular testing is continuing, the school indicated in its release. Protocols have been established for screening, distancing, cleaning, sanitation and use of personal protective equipment to minimize the virus’ possible spread.
The Bulls men’s and women’s basketball teams began voluntary workouts inside the Muma Center on Monday. Coaches reported no positive tests by a player at that time, though a number of players have not yet returned to Tampa.