Florida Gators report 11 positive coronavirus tests among athletes as teams prepare for season

By Adam Silverstein
June 23, 2020
Florida Gators report 11 positive coronavirus tests among athletes as teams prepare for season
Football

Image Credit: GatorTurfStaff / Twitter

As the state of Florida has quickly become one of a few major hot spots for COVID-19 across the nation with cases rising by the day, the Florida Gators on Tuesday revealed that 11 of their student-athletes have tested positive for the coronavirus since April.

“Dating back to April, we’ve had a total of 11 student-athletes from several of our teams test positive,” said Florida’s Steve McClain. “As we’ve said before, we will have positive tests and with guidance from UF Health, we feel we are well positioned to manage those cases.”

The Gators are not releasing facts and figures about their coronavirus testing procedures, neither how many have been conducted nor how many new positives were found since players returned to campus earlier this month. However, on June 9, a story on the team’s website noted that “only two UF athletes have tested positive for the virus with both of those instances occurring during quarantine.”

Florida is utilizing tracing and mitigation procedures for all athletes who test positive. The only other data we have from the Gators at this time is that the first 80 returned tests out of 87 conducted when football players returned to campus for voluntary workouts were negative for the coronavirus.

Florida is using the football team’s Indoor Practice facility as an all-encompassing training hub for athletes on campus, converting the 88,000-square foot facility to include “weights, equipment and training stations” near the large garage doors to maximize air circulation in the facility and around the athletes. After passing a COVID-19 tests (results take approximately 36 hours), athletes undergo routine physical exams, including temperature screenings and questionnaires. Limited numbers of athletes are allowed in the facility and all must arrive dressed with no locker rooms available.

Head coach Dan Mullen said in a Zoom conference last week that he is “proud” that the players and staff are doing the best they can to socially distance and is confident in the plans created by the medical staff to combat COVID-19.

The revelation of the 11 positive tests for Gators athletes comes on the heels of multiple announcements and reports last week, including Clemson sharing that 23 players had tested positive and LSU reportedly having 30 players in quarantine for coronavirus concerns.

The NCAA in May allowed college football teams to begin voluntary workouts on June 1 with most programs having players report on June 8. Last week, it approved a six-week calendar to start the 2020 season on time with team workouts beginning July 13, walkthroughs starting July 24 and practice allowed to commence on Aug. 7.

Should there be no delays to the preseason schedule due to the coronavirus, Florida will open the 2020 season on Saturday, Sept. 5 against Eastern Washington. The first three games of the season will be played at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida.

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