Ole Miss athletic director Keith Carter went on RebTalk on Thursday night to provide a much needed COVID-19 update for Rebel athletics.
Following two in the athletics department testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, there's a lot of questions to be answered as far as the state of play, tailgating this upcoming season and fans at games.
Here's everything Carter said in the interview:
On the players returning and a crazy week at Ole Miss:
"It's exciting, getting student-athletes back. in town and getting them over in the Manning Center for testing. I was over there a few times this week and it was just nice to have some activity in the building. You can tell the student-athletes are ready to be back. They're ready to be back with the coaches and in a familiar setting and work out. The reason they came to Ole Miss is to play a sport and get a great education. But you can tell there's some excitement and some momentum. Candidly, I think things are going very well."
On the two positive COVID-19 tests:
"We did end up with a couple of positive cases, which we knew would happen. I think Shannon Singletary and all the doctors from UMMC and everyone that's helped, we've had a great plan in place. We were able to isolate those people and do some contact tracing and make sure that it wasn't effecting others. Again, I think it proves that our plan was a really good one. We hated that a we had those confirmed cases and certainly we'll take care of those people. But again, we were prepared from that. The people from UMMC knew that with bringing back a few hundred people, we were going to have some confirmed cases and we'll probably have a few more. We just have to continue to push forward and use our protocols and be safe. I know Shannon and our team will do that for sure."
On the player in isolation unit after testing positive:
"We're not just going to put them over there and forget about them. We're going to make sure we're getting food and attention over there, making sure every day that they're feeling okay and they have all the resources. Again, I cant emphasize how great of a job that Shannon and his team has done. They'll continue to take care of our students and our staff and we're really proud of that effort."
On fans at games, tailgating at The Grove this upcoming season:
"There's still a ton of unanswered questions. One of the things I've learned about this process with COVID is that it's a step-by-step process. You have to accomplish some things then move forward. We've done a tremendous job of focusing on our students and our staff and making sure there's a safe and healthy way for them to return to campus.
"Once we get through this wave over the next week or so, we're going to dive into other very important things. What does our stadium look like? We've already had some of those discussions and started those discussions. But really diving into that more. What does The Grove look like? What does our stadium look like if we're at 25-percent or 50-percent or 75-percent? There's a lot of things that are going to have to be discussed. The information is changing every day and it's very fluid, but we want to be proactive and ahead of all the scenarios and have them planned for."
On the recently scheduled home-and-homes with South Alabama:
"I guess I got a little pushback in some ways about the home-and-home with South Alabama. But just to explain, it comes down to a financial decision. A lot of times, if we payed South Alabama to come to our stadium, we're paying them $1.5-million, maybe up to $2-million to do that. So we’re going to try and sprinkle in a couple of group of five home-and-homes. We're not going to do that every year, but every ten years maybe a couple of those."