How Big Ten Decision Impacts Power Five
The Maryland athletic department announced Saturday that it has “temporarily suspended” voluntary football workouts after nine cases of COVID-19 were found among 185 athletes and staff who were tested for the virus. The positive tests come after no cases were found among 105 athletes and staff who were tested in June. The school conducted its latest round of testing on July 7 and 8, according to Saturday’s announcement, and those who tested positive are in self-isolation. The local health department is performing contact tracing.
Maryland is the second Big Ten program to announce the suspension of voluntary workouts this week, joining Ohio State, which did so on Wednesday after receiving the results of its COVID-19 testing. Ohio State did not release the number of positive cases identified.
Other athletic departments around the country have declined to reveal any information on their COVID-19 testing, leading to uncertainty about the prevalence of outbreaks in athletic programs that are attempting to return to play this fall. In Maryland’s case, the school did not reveal how many, if any, of the nine positive cases are among football players. Maryland will continue to release “aggregate number of positive tests at regular intervals,” according to Saturday’s announcement.
The situation within the Big Ten is serious enough that the league moved on Thursday to restrict competition to conference games only in the fall. The decision wiped several key nonconference games from the 2020 college football schedule, including a border state battle between Maryland and West Virginia that was scheduled for Sept. 19.