When asked about the likelihood of a football season, University of Idaho President C. Scott Green was blunt but noncommittal.
“I don’t know,” Green said in an Idaho Education News interview Wednesday.
With opening day barely a month away, the coronavirus pandemic has cast a cloud over the U of I’s season. On Tuesday, the university reported nine student-athletes have tested positive for coronavirus, with the football team accounting for most of these cases. According to one published report, a majority of U of I players want to sit out 2020.
The test results are no surprise — “we knew we’d have positive cases,” Green said — but he said the university has protocols in place. Players who test positive are isolated and kept in quarantine until they are cleared. If the season takes place, he said, the U of I will expect opponents to follow similar protocols, and will even use its existing lab capacity to test opposing players.
But Green took issue with a Tuesday report from Stadium.com, written by veteran college football writer Brett McMurphy. Citing multiple, unnamed team members, McMurphy reported that close to three fourths of the team do not want to play this season. According to the story, multiple players said they have shared their concerns with coaches, Athletic Director Terry Gawlik and Green himself.
Without citing specifics, Green questioned the story’s accuracy. “I think you’d have trouble validating some of the things that were said in the article.”
Idaho Education News will spend the next year examining the issues facing higher education during the coronavirus pandemic. Look for the first installments of the project Thursday and next week.