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Louisville Soccer Boots Players Over Party Outbreak

Paul Steinbach

Three University of Louisville men's soccer players have been dismissed from the team after organizing a party that led to 29 student-athletes testing positive for COVID-19.

The Courier-Journal of Louisville, citing a university release, reported that the three individuals had past team violations on their records. In addition, three other men's soccer players were suspended.

"I'm extremely disappointed in these young men and particularly with the three that have been dismissed," Louisville men's soccer head coach John Michael Hayden said in the release. "They have demonstrated with their actions now and previously that they do not echo the culture of this program. Our student-athletes are held to a high standard of conduct as representatives of our program and university."

The 29 COVID-19 cases that were linked to that party are from four Louisville programs, including both men's and women's soccer programs, as well as the volleyball and field hockey teams. That outbreak led to the temporary shutdown of voluntary workouts and preseason practice for all four teams.

"It is clear that these student-athletes did not meet the code of conduct of the university or their team," Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra said in the release. "Ignoring the safety protocols issued by federal, state and local officials, as well as the athletic department, is unacceptable and dangerous. Their history of actions are not in alignment with the values of this university and athletics department."

The party thrown at off-campus housing in Louisville on Saturday did not follow Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's 10-person gathering limit. 

"That limit was ignored," Tyra said on Wednesday, when outlining code-of-conduct issues surrounding the party and potential consequences. "By the contact tracing you can see by the number of positive results there was more than 10 so they didn't follow those state guidelines at all."

The Louisville student-athlete handbook states that "any violation of individual team rules may result in temporary loss of practice or participation status, indefinite team suspension, reduction or cancellation of athletics financial aid, or dismissal from the team and/or University." Coaches are also allowed to specify their own team rules that may not be the same at every other sport, according to the handbook. 

"If you have repeat offenders that continue to ignore any team policies we have always had the option of discipline up to dismissal," Tyra said.

Louisville continues to quarantine the student-athletes who tested positive, as well as the multiple athletes who were found in the contact tracing. No Louisville football players are currently quarantined because of this contact tracing.

Louisville isn't the only school to discipline its students, according to The Courier-Journal. Syracuse suspended "a group of students" after violating the state's mandatory quarantine rules, the school said. 

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