A number of football players and athletics department staff at Colorado State University say they have been told not to report COVID-19 symptoms, among other measures diminishing health threats, according to Miles Blumhardt of the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
According to the report, coaches have also threatened players with reduced playing time if they quarantine and players also allege that the school is adjusting its contact tracing reports to keep practices ongoing.
"I believe there is a cover-up going on at CSU,'' one current football player told the Coloradoan. "But they could only cover it up so long and now that we have so many cases across athletics, they can’t cover it up anymore. It’s not about the health and safety of the players but about just trying to make money off the players.''
Following the report's publish, a number of current players strongly disputed the news.
"In a 30-minute interview with [AD] Joe Parker, Miles Blumhardt asked about the context of this salacious headline once," Kyle Neaves, the school's Associate Athletic Director for Communication said on Twitter. "He also excluded that our team—at the insistence of Coach—hasn't been allowed back into the facilities for safety. But that doesn't fit the narrative."
According to the report, players and staff said the team's head coach, Steve Addazio, rarely wears a mask and sets a bad example for his team.
Players and staff also said that the quarantine procedures vary wildly and alleged coaches are "coercing health administrators not to quarantine athletes so they can continue to practice."
Parker said that, "There is no influence from our coaching staff on those kinds of decisions and those decisions are made outside of the athletic department and that is the way I want it."
Per the report, some players that have been exposed to others with COVID-19 symptoms or others who tested positive were allowed to practice.
Players also added that they have felt pressured to practice and compete.
"I think everybody could be doing a better job,'' the player said. "But for our coaches to tell players not to tell trainers if they have symptoms because we had so many guys out is wrong.''
Colorado State has seen a recent uptick in positive tests from football players, according to the Coloradoan. The program shut down summer workouts on July 29 as a result.
Tuesday's report comes as a number of college football players have announced their decision to opt out of the season. On Sunday, a group of hundreds of Pac-12 football players said they will opt out of any upcoming training camps and games unless the conference negotiates with them and reaches a legal agreement regarding health and safety practices and additionally addresses issues of racial injustice and economic inequality.