Louisiana State University head coach Ed Orgeron said most of his football team has tested positive for COVID-19 since being back on campus. His comments from Tuesday’s virtual press conference alarmed many just a day before the Big Ten Conference announced it will resume play on Oct. 24.
Orgeron, coach of the defending national champions, casually threw in the disclosure while answering a question about the Southeastern Conference team’s depth during the pandemic.
“Not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it,” he told reporters in Baton Rouge. “So I think hopefully they won’t catch it again and hopefully they won’t be out for games.”
Orgeron also touched on a recent outbreak that forced him to completely rethink how the team practices.
“I told the team we need everybody, there’s no telling what’s going to happen with the Covid,” Orgeron said. “Two weeks ago … everybody on our offensive line, expect for two or three guys, were out.
“We adjusted very well,” Orgeron continued. “You got to make adjustments.”
LSU begins its shortened season at home against Mississippi State next Saturday.
COVID-19 and Its Effects on College Football
Dr. Dan Diekema, an epidemiologist at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine, said Orgeron’s admission is evidence that college athletes are not as well protected as pro athletes. Especially, NBA and NHL players who are confined to bubbles.
“A professional athlete and professional sports leagues have the resources to create these bubbles and have massive financial incentives to maintain those bubbles,” Diekema said to NBC News.
“It’s unreasonable and really impossible to create that kind of bubble in college athletics,” Diekema continued. “They’re going to socialize. So it’s going to lead to what we’re starting to see already in the areas the have begun to play.”
The University of Virginia was ready to play rival Virginia Tech this weekend. However, the game is now postponed because of COVID-19 concerns in Blacksburg.
On Wednesday, the Big Ten said it intends to play a nine-game schedule beginning Oct. 23-24. The league also established testing protocols that would cancel games and practice if outbreaks occur.
[H/T NBC News]