Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin said Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19 last month, but experienced only mild symptoms and has recovered.
Speaking virtually to reporters during an already-scheduled media session, Stricklin, 50, said his symptoms included a runny nose, congestion, headache and chills. They lingered about 48 hours before dissipating.
His family is fine, he said.
“I had about 48 hours where I felt really crummy, and probably had another three or four days that I didn’t feel like going out and running a marathon,” Stricklin said. “Then after that, I kind of felt like I was back to normal.”
Stricklin’s revelation comes at a time when the 2020 college football season — at least a conventional one — appears in peril and Florida continues emerging as a coronavirus epicenter. Two Power Five conferences — the Big Ten and Pac-12 — already have announced they’ll play a conference-only schedule this fall; the SEC is holding off on such a decision.
Moments after Stricklin’s conference call Tuesday, the SEC announced that it is postponing competition in three fall sports (volleyball, soccer, cross country) until at least Aug. 31.
“I thought I was being careful, but obviously this a highly transmittable disease, as ... others on campus keep reminding me,” Stricklin said. “So I do think it speaks to the importance of all of us doing our part and wearing the masks and physical distancing and all that stuff. Hopefully we can help keep others safe during this process by doing our part.”
Stricklin also reported that 29 of the 238 COVID-19 tests performed among Gators student-athletes have returned positive, with as many as a dozen quarantined at one time. Currently, the number being quarantined remains in single digits, he said.
“We’ve been trying to keep it at, I don’t want to say a manageable level because you want zero, but we’ve been able to keep that number (low),” he said. “We continue to provide care for those athletes in quarantine ... and make sure we try to head off any kind of systemic spread.”
Stricklin, meantime, and his conference peers — who met in person Monday in Birmingham, Ala. — continue monitoring COVID-19 developments and consulting with medical advisors about the plausibility of a 2020 football season. Any significant decision by the league isn’t expected until late July.
For now, Stricklin isn’t putting a percentage on his level of optimism for a season, or what a conference-only schedule would mean for the annual rivalry game against FSU (though he still wants to play it). The only hypothetical he addressed in-depth Tuesday is a contingency plan for reducing seating capacity at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
If fans are permitted in games and 6-foot social distancing guidelines are adopted, Stricklin indicated the Swamp could accommodate a maximum 25,000 fans.
“To use a baseball analogy, we owe it to our athletes to try to run out every ground ball to figure out a way that we can get to the point where we can play games and we can have competition for them,” he said.
“But understanding we’re not going to do that until we get to a point where we think their health and well-being and safety is in as good an environment as we can make it.”