Holding my breath. And wearing my mask. From the NY Times:


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By escargray on 07:23:32 06/25/20

By Billy Witz
June 25, 2020
Updated 10:15 a.m. ET

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When Kansas State opened the doors to its athletic facilities, welcoming its football players back to campus starting the first weekend in June, administrators breathed a sigh of relief once the first batch of coronavirus tests came back.

The first wave of athletes spent a week in quarantine before voluntary workouts, as all players were required to do, and the scorecard was pristine: 90 tests, zero positives.

Another six players straggled in a day or two later and were swabbed. Again, no positives.

Then, by June 12, the final group of 24 arrivals — largely freshmen — was tested. But just a week later, Kansas State shut down its workouts until at least mid-July after two positive cases in that final group morphed into four and then eight before leaping to 14, as nearly half the team needed to be checked again.

With its announcement on Saturday, Kansas State became the first school from a Power 5 conference to shut down football activities. Two other Football Bowl Subdivision schools did the same after outbreaks among their athletes, with Houston making the decision on June 12 and Boise State on Monday.

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The swift escalation at Kansas State, from clean slate to clampdown, shows how perilous it can be for universities — even with sanitized facilities, extensive protocols and without blocking and tackling in football practices — to bring athletes back to campuses as more than half the country is experiencing spikes in coronavirus cases.

Among the states with the most severe outbreaks in the United States is football-mad Texas, which has seen such a sharp rise in infections — more than 5,000 new cases were reported on Tuesday — that Gov. Greg Abbott, who had been bullish on an early reopening last month, urged residents to stay indoors.

As university presidents, knowing the many millions of dollars that football generates, planned to open their campuses later this summer, there were other examples in the last week to give them pause. At Clemson, 28 athletes — including 23 football players — tested positive for the coronavirus. At Texas, 13 players tested positive and another 10 were self-isolating. And at Louisiana State, the reigning national champion, at least 30 players were in quarantine, according to Sports Illustrated.

“I think everyone realizes the plan is written in pencil,” said Heather Lyke, the athletic director at Pittsburgh and a member of the N.C.A.A. Division I Council, which last week approved guidelines for how teams can practice leading into the season.

She added: “It’s frankly hard to predict where things are going to go. The point where the council approved the calendar, things were in a reasonable state.”

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If the future is murky, so, too, is the breadth of recent cases. There have been confirmed positive tests at 23 of the 130 F.B.S. schools, but some public schools — including Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina — have refused to release testing data of their athletes, claiming that federal laws prohibiting the release of students’ personal information allow them to not release aggregated data.


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