With only two positive COVID-19 cases so far, the West Virginia football team has had one of the best returns to campus in the Big 12.
On a call with the media Wednesday, WVU head coach Neal Brown confirmed that a high percentage of players had returned to Morgantown and were participating in voluntary workouts. The Big 12 conference allowed teams to hold workouts on a voluntary basis starting last Monday, which was also the day of WVU’s first positive case. That Saturday, WVU announced its second positive case.
Two positive cases puts WVU on the low end of the spectrum in the Big 12, with schools like Texas (13 positive) and Kansas State (14) at risk of full-blown outbreaks. Brown said he was not sure what to expect when his players returned to Morgantown from all over the country, but he is determined to keep WVU’s virus numbers as low as possible.
“I didn’t really have any expectations,” Brown said. “I knew we were going to have to deal with the virus at some point. We’ve tried to educate our players and our staff about the virus as much as we possibly can.”
According to Brown, WVU has conducted 167 total tests, 134 on student-athletes, with only two coming back positive. Each time a test came back positive, the team identified through contact tracing anyone else who could be at risk of having the virus and asked them to quarantine themselves as well. Brown said the group from the first positive test was tested again Tuesday and all came back negative. The second group is set to be tested on Friday.
Brown said he feels that educating his players about potential risks is the best action they can take right now. He said that the coaching staff cannot and does not want to monitor or control players’ actions 24 hours a day.
“We’re trying to educate them on the best practices and hoping that they follow through,” Brown said. “I’m hopeful we’ll continue to keep our numbers down. We’re going to take every precaution possible to make sure that that happens while they’re in workout or practice…We’re going to continue to take every precaution possible.”
For now, Brown said the team will continue to hold voluntary workouts and continue to promote and use proper social distancing, mask-wearing and cleaning practices.