Written by @kristenshylin_
Despite announcing no active COVID-19 cases on July 20, the Colorado State football program had 11 confirmed cases by Sunday, ESPN reported.
Multiple players accused a position coach of instructing athletes to hide symptoms because “we can’t afford it.”
As a result, Colorado State President Joyce McConnell announced that the university is launching an “immediate” investigation into the athletic department amid claims that coaches advised student-athletes to disregard COVID-19 protocols.
Coaches, players, and sports medicine staff at the school told the sports news network that athletic department leaders are hindering players from getting tested.
In addition to discouraging athletes, leaders are allegedly failing to provide accurate information to local and state health officials, according to the publication. They are even neglecting quarantine guidelines for athletes who have potentially been exposed to the virus, sources say.
According to ESPN, multiple sources revealed that football players had been threatened that their playing time could be compromised if they have a long absence due to testing positive for the virus.
Shocked by the recent claims, McConnell stated that the school would protect anyone against retaliation. The football team will not play in 2020 unless the players feel safe; she continued.
“I assure you, if anyone has [violated our standards], we will investigate, and we will find out,” McConnell said.
On Tuesday. Colorado State head football coach Steve Addazio issued a statement supporting the president’s investigation.
“The health and welfare of our student-athletes on the Colorado State football team is our top priority, and I fully support President McConnell’s investigation into concerns about whether these protocols were properly followed by everyone involved with our program,” the statement read. “We want every student-athlete to have confidence that we are taking every possible measure to ensure their safety, and we will continue working with the training staff, the athletic department and the University to evaluate and implement any additional steps necessary to live up to our high standards.”
Similarly, athletic director Joe Parker also released a statement supporting the recent investigation.
“I fully embrace President McConnell’s investigation into this matter, and if we learn anyone on our staff has not been fully supportive of our commitment to health and safety, this is unacceptable and will be dealt with swiftly.”