Florida football reports six more COVID-19 positives among players as it prepares for Missouri

By Adam Silverstein
October 27, 2020
Florida football reports six more COVID-19 positives among players as it prepares for Missouri

Image Credit: ESPN Images

The Florida Gators released the athletic department’s latest COVID-19 testing information on Tuesday, confirming that an additional six football players have tested positive for coronavirus over the last seven days. This as the Florida football team has been sidelined two weeks amid a COVID-19 outbreak within the program.

The Gators have now seen 37 football players test positive since Oct. 1. Head coach Dan Mullen said Monday afternoon that the team’s most recent positive test came on Saturday.

It remains unknown how many or which players Mullen will have available when Florida hosts Missouri on Saturday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Though most of the Gators who were struck with positive COVID-19 tests should be either recovered or clear of the 10-day window mandated by SEC protocols, there are others who were quarantining due to contact tracing and were mandated to be out 14 days.

With six more tests, there may by extension be other players forced to quarantine that would miss not only the Mizzou game but possibly next week’s contest against Georgia as well.

Though Florida has not pinpointed the origination of the COVID-19 outbreak, it believes it began on the Texas A&M road trip. The Gators are not blaming the Aggies for the outbreak but rather the fact that there are so many unknowns that they are unable to control while traveling, such as long plane and bus rides, pre-game meals in tighter spaces, hotels and road locker rooms that are not conducive to social distancing

“It’s not like the NFL where [teams] have standards of the home and visitor locker room,” Mullen said. “A lot of times, the visitor’s locker room, when you’re in there, it’s about a quarter of the size. So basically, when you travel right now, you’re going to put your team [in a tougher position]. There is no social distancing. You’re putting your same number of people in 25% of the space when you’re in there on the road. So we always knew the travel was going to be a concern and an issue for us.”

Mullen did say he expects the Gators to have more than the minimum of 53 scholarship players available for the game. He touted the fact that Florida had been successfully controlling COVID-19 within the program until it had to go on the road, noting that actually put UF in a difficult spot because other programs had outbreaks in the offseason with players presumably developing antibodies while his program is experiencing its outbreak during the season.

As for himself, Mullen said he had minor COVID-19 symptoms and spent plenty of time resting, though it was tough being isolated at home. At least two other Florida assistant coaches tested positive for COVID-19; it is unknown if any additional staff did as well.

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