An Uneasy Week for College Football
As anticipation grows toward the possible start of a college football season with the return of student-athletes to campuses for voluntary workouts, multiple players at schools around the nation have tested positive for the COVID-19 Coronavirus since their arrivals on their respective campuses.
The University of Houston has halted all voluntary workouts after six Cougar football players tested positive last week. A similar number of players also tested positive at Alabama, though the Crimson Tide has not announced a total stoppage of workouts.
It's the greatest fear of those in charge, and fans being imagined.
Critics of the athletes return point to them coming into contact with fellow players as the cause of the positive tests, though there is no information to confirm how those players contracted the virus.
Protocols in place are dictating the medical treatments for those infected players, and preventing further spreading of the virus among teammates, but should this number begin to increase past initial levels, it could mean a rethinking of plans moving forward.
At the same time, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has informed colleges across his state to expect stadium capacity to be limited to 50% at best according to reports, first according to USA Today's Dan Wolken and reported by Jenna West of Sports Illustrated.
Form West's story.
"Abbott's message to the athletics directors was clear, according to the person with knowledge of the call: It would take either a vaccine or a drastic drop in cases for capacity to increase beyond 50% and that schools should not count on either development by the time the football season starts," Wolken wrote."
While stadium capacity has been a topic of conversation, Abbott is the first governor to make such a statement publicly regarding stadium capacity for potential games this season.
Fans of the University of Texas might not like Abbott's proclamation, which would limit the usual crowd of 100,119 to 50,559, of which the majority would be season ticket holders and student, limiting the average fan's ability to attend games at Memorial Stadium.
Vanderbilt has not yet revealed its plans for practice or games, and at last report, the university remains in Phase 2 of their four-phase plan for reopening.
The developments in Texas don't have a direct and immediate impact on the SEC or Vanderbilt. However, officials and administrators are in contact and monitoring situations in other states and at universities across the nation.
Future developments, however, at both Houston, Alabama, and other institutions bear watching the coming days and weeks as everyone continues toward the stat of college football season.