North Carolina State University announced Tuesday that eight of its baseball players tested positive for the Delta variant of COVID-19.
N.C. State was forced to exit the College World Series semifinal round over the weekend after multiple players tested positive for the coronavirus, including an unspecified number who had been vaccinated. Whether or not vaccinated players were among those who tested positive for the considerably more spreadable Delta variant is not clear.
"We understand the results. Believe me. There’s no questioning the results,” N.C. State chancellor Randy Woodson said Tuesday, as reported by Sports Illustrated. “We understand the gravity of eight players testing positive and the fact that this was the Delta variant, which is super contagious and is quickly emerging in the country as potentially another wave of infection. So we understand. That’s of concern.”
The Wolfpack dropped out of the series June 26, after the NCAA declared its matchup with Vanderbilt a "no-contest." At one point, the team was competing with only 13 players.
“The NCAA and the committee regret that NC State’s student-athletes and coaching staff will not be able to continue in the championship in which they earned the right to participate," the NCAA said in a statement. "Because of privacy issues, we cannot provide further details.”
As reported by The News & Observer of Raleigh, some fans were angry that the NCAA eliminated an entire team because of some infected players while it has allowed thousands of fans to attend CWS games without any screening for COVID-19. Nonetheless, the NCAA had made it clear that teams who were not fully vaccinated would be regularly tested and disqualified in the event of an outbreak. N.C. State officials left the decision on getting vaccinated up to the players.
"Maybe the university’s athletic administration should have taken a harder line," wrote the editorial board of The News & Observer. "It’s questionable whether a public university can demand that students get a vaccine that the FDA has not yet approved through its standard process. But university officials might have stronger grounds to insist on vaccination when students seek to participate in special, university-sponsored activities, such as playing on the baseball team."