Athletic departments working around COVID-19 as teams start their seasons

College Sports

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The pandemic has brought many challenges to athletic departments at both the high school and college levels across the region.

Just yesterday, the NCAA announced the start date for the college basketball season. But before ETSU can get ready for that date, they have a quarantine to get through first.

“We’re trying to work through those challenges that we have, we did have a couple positive tests, as of now we’re in quarantine as a team right now,” ETSU head men’s basketball coach Jason Shay said.

After multiple players on the ETSU men’s basketball team tested positive for COVID-19 last week, the Bucs halted team workouts and have entered quarantine until next week.

“Right now yes I’d rather have it happen now in September rather than it happen in December so we just gotta work through it, it is the protocol and first and foremost is the health and safety of our players,” Shay said.

ETSU isn’t the only school impacted by COVID-19. Milligan University has three athletes in quarantine, awaiting test results. These three may have come in contact with somebody outside the athletic department who did test positive.

“You constantly have to stay on top of this thing because the science and the recommendations and all those kind of things are changing on a weekly basis,” Milligan Vice President for Athletics and Student Development Mark Fox said.

These three are the only Milligan athletes to have any issues with COVID-19, a feat the Buffs are proud of as all their fall sports teams are back on campus and playing games.

“Yeah we’re thrilled that we’re able to do anything and it could all change tomorrow it could all change tomorrow so anything I say is not intended to imply that we have this figured out because we do not have this figured out,” Fox said.

Tusculum University has also dealt with cases of coronavirus in its athletic department since their athletes began workouts on September 1. The full statement from Tusculum Director of Communications Jim Wozniak to News Channel 11 Sports reads below:

Tusculum University athletes have participated in conditioning activities since Sept. 1, and we are pleased with the results. These activities have taken place in small groups and have been in harmony with safety protocols in place throughout the institution. We have taken a conservative approach to maximize the safety of our athletes and the rest of the Tusculum family. Conditioning in small groups is giving our athletic department leaders an opportunity to evaluate how well this return to athletic activity is going. No teams have played games.

Our protocols call for athletes to notify the Office of Student Affairs or the athletic department immediately should they feel sick or experience symptoms of the coronavirus. We also have provisions in place to isolate athletes if they are positive for the coronavirus or have them quarantine if they ever potentially come into contact with a positive case. Tusculum has had a few positive cases, which is not surprising considering the number of cases that have developed in the region in the last several months.

Tusculum continually reinforces to athletes the importance of physical distancing, wearing a face covering and using good hand hygiene.

Brent Treash, Director of Athletic Communications at Emory & Henry, told News Channel 11 Sports that their athletic department has not had any positive cases, since their teams will not be arriving on campus until mid-October.

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