Tulsa, North Dakota Halt Workouts After Positive Tests

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The University of Tulsa football team and University of North Dakota athletic department have paused workouts indefinitely due to positive COVID-19 tests.

Tulsa announced that practice “will be paused until further notice” after eight players tested positive, while North Dakota athletic director Bill Chaves announced, according to KVVR, that 29 UND student-athletes tested positive during the weekly test on Aug. 13.

Tulsa’s release noted that all eight players that tested positive are asymptomatic and have been placed in isolation for 14 days along with eight more football players that came in direct contact with them. The Golden Hurricanes, who are scheduled to start the season with a Sept. 12 nonconference game at Oklahoma State, will only conduct small-group strength and conditioning training and team meetings while practice is halted.

"It's unfortunate that we have to pause practice, but the well-being, health and security of our athletes is our number one priority," Tulsa head coach Philip Montgomery said. "We will continue to do everything we can during this stretch to keep our players safe, healthy and at the top of their game mentally."

Conversely, North Dakota isn’t competing in any sports this fall, as the Summit League and Missouri Valley Football Conference have postponed fall competition until the spring of 2021.

Chaves announced that this is the second spike in positive cases during the six weeks of testing for UND student-athletes. The first spike came after Fourth of July weekend.

“Based on results from our weekly test that occurred on Thursday, we have been working through 29 (of over 200 student-athletes tested) positive cases from that test,” Chaves’ statement reads. “Given this situation, we have paused workouts this week so that we can hit a reset on a number of items moving forward.

“Per our existing protocols and University protocols for isolating and quarantining — which have been in development for the past several months — those who have tested positive were immediately isolated. In addition, we continue to work with UND Health and the State of North Dakota’s Department of Public Health on quarantining any close contacts.”

The University of Florida football team is working through different coronavirus-related issues. Sports Illustrated’s All Gators website reported Monday that Florida head coach Dan Mullen confirmed that multiple players skipped the first day of fall camp. According to All Gators, wide receivers Kadarius Toney, Trevon Grimes and Jacob Copeland are holding out along with defensive end Zachary Carter.

"We had a couple guys not practice today, but we'll see how that goes moving forward for us. But, you know, I wouldn't be surprised if you have guys opt out. I'm going to support them fully," said Mullen, who didn’t confirm the players’ identities to All Gators. "Really wouldn't be surprised if we had coaches opt-out, to be honest with you. Coaches are at such high risk because of the age group that they're in. So statistically I think coaches are probably even at a higher risk. I think when you look at those things, but we'll figure it out. We're going to adapt to whatever happens as we continue to move forward."

The University of North Carolina is powering through with athletics despite already shifting school to full-time remote learning. According to ESPN, UNC went online Wednesday after announcing 177 students are in isolation and 349 are in quarantine. The Tar Heels are scheduled to begin the football season Sept. 12 against Syracuse.

"Our student-athletes will continue to attend online classes, and may choose to remain in their current on- and off-campus residences," North Carolina said in a statement. "Workouts and practices will continue under the standards set by our University, health officials and department. We still are expecting to play this fall, and we will continue to evaluate the situation in coordination with the University, the ACC, state and local officials, and health officials. The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, and community remains our priority."

Related content: Syracuse, FSU Players Seek Better COVID-19 Testing

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