The COVID-19 outbreak among the Rutgers football team reportedly stemmed from players attending a party.
According to NJ.com, athletes from multiple Rutgers sports teams — football included — got together for an on-campus party, resulting in an array of positive tests among the football team. As a result, Rutgers announced Saturday that it had suspended all team activities and placed its entire football program into quarantine.
“We have paused all in-person team activities, quarantined our entire program and will work diligently with Rutgers medical experts, and state and local officials to determine next steps,” the Rutgers athletic department said in a statement.
In its announcement, Rutgers said there were six positive tests in its most recent testing cycle and later said that a total of 10 players tested positive since they returned to campus on June 15. However, Judith Persichilli, New Jersey’s state health commissioner, said Wednesday during a news conference with Gov. Phil Murphy that the number of positive tests was actually 15.
“There’s been an outbreak of Rutgers football players, with 15 of them currently testing positive,” Persichilli said. “These examples that we shared today account for 125 new cases of COVID-19 in our state. Every single one of those cases has the potential to infect other people. Their grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, loved ones, and if any of one of them have underlying conditions … the result could be fatal.”
Five Big Ten teams have been forced to pause workouts since programs were permitted to return to campuses in June, with Rutgers and Michigan State as the most recent examples. On Monday, Michigan State put out its most recent testing figures, revealing that 16 athletes (across all sports) and four staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.
As LSU showed back in June when an array of its players were reportedly exposed to the virus after frequenting a string of Baton Rouge nightclubs, college athletes socializing is going to be a big issue when it comes to the potential for a football season.
These athletes are generally 18-22 years old. Telling them they cannot mingle with one another — especially when the rest of the student population returns to campus — is going to be a major challenge if the college football season is going to be played.
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