Nine football players at the University of Oklahoma have tested positive for the coronavirus, as the Big 12, its conference, continues to gear up for fall football.
Head Coach Lincoln Riley made the announcement Saturday. The test results came back after the team had returned from a one-week break from pre-season practice.
“We did conduct a Covid test as planned with our players last night, got the results this morning we had nine players tested positive for Covid. We had a couple of others that have been isolated due to contact tracing,” Riley told the media in a video conference call on Saturday.
Riley went on to say that he’s disappointed by the news.
“We’ve done such a tremendous job this entire time. You know when (you) give players time, there is risk in that. This isn’t the NBA, we don’t have a bubble. We all have to continue to work to do a better job by all accounts. We’re still confident in the plan that we have,” he said.
The Oklahoma Sooners, part of the Big 12 conference, are currently scheduled to open the 2020 season at home against Missouri State on Sept. 12 – despite the ongoing pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Big 10 and the Pac-12 conferences – two other of the “Power Five” football conferences – have already announced plans to suspend all fall sports, including football. The NCAA has also announced that there would be no fall championships this year, though they may take place in 2021. The NCAA’s head doctor also warned that getting fall sports right would be a “very narrow path,” saying that the US is “moving into very troubled waters right now.”
Despite all of this, the ACC, SEC and Big 12 have continued with plans to compete in the fall.