The protocols and guidelines intended to prevent the spread of coronavirus hasn’t been the biggest challenge for Louisville football players.
Coaches and student athletes have adopted the precautions as preparation for the 2020 season continues, but the uncertainty surrounding the season has taken a toll on everyone.
“The mental anguish these guys have gone through the last five months is the hardest thing we are dealing with,” Louisville head coach Scott Satterfield said.
After the team’s fifth practice of fall camp last Saturday, Aug. 8, players learned the Mid-American Conference (MAC) canceled its fall season.
The Big 10 reportedly voted to cancel its season on Monday.
Satterfield and the coaching staff are as transparent as possible, sharing everything they know with their players. He said players want something definitive for peace of mind.
“The unknown has been the thing that has played with us mentally,” Satterfield said. “We try to support each other, we try to stay in the moment and control the things that we can control, which is all the protocols we have put into place.”
The protocols Louisville has put in place have allowed student athletes to feel safe.
Football players are tested for COVID-19 weekly and have limited access to athletic facilities.
Last week, 29 student athletes at Louisville tested positive for COVID-19, but no football players were announced to have contracted the virus.
“Our medical people here have done an outstanding job from the top to the bottom,” Satterfield said. “Our guys feel safe here.”
Without football, Satterfield worries about how players would spend their time during the pandemic. He said football games would be safe as long as opponents are following the same guidelines as Louisville.
“This gives them purpose, this gives them structure and it enables them to stay safe,” Satterfield said.
With a season surrounded by uncertainty, Louisville players are certain that they want to play this year.
“We had players this morning crying in our meetings because they want to play,” Satterfield said. “These guys enjoy playing football, they enjoy camaraderie with each other.”