Arizona Pauses Plan of Bringing Student-Athletes Back to Campus Due to COVID-19

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJune 30, 2020

TUCSON, AZ - OCTOBER 28:  An Arizona Wildcats helmet sits on the field prior to the game against the Washington State Cougars at Arizona Stadium on October 28, 2017 in Tucson, Arizona. The Arizona Wildcats won 58-37.  (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)
Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images

The University of Arizona is temporarily halting its plan to bring student-athletes back to campus in Tucson due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

"The health, safety and well-being of all members of our community is our number one priority," director of athletics Dave Heeke said, per ESPN's Adam Rittenberg. "We will continue to work in conjunction with campus partners and our local government agencies to support and evaluate a safe and healthy return to campus."

With states relaxing business restrictions and stay-at-home guidelines in recent weeks and months, the number of coronavirus cases is rising across the country.

The pandemic is hitting Arizona especially hard. On May 19, the state had confirmed 432 new cases. On June 19, officials confirmed 3,534 cases, and Arizona's 3,858 cases on Sunday are a single-day high.

In order to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Monday the state will close select businesses for 30 days, per CNN's Kimberly Berryman and Theresa Waldrop.

The NCAA Division I Council opened the door for schools to resume activities for football and basketball teams starting June 1. 

According to Rittenberg, Arizona began bringing back athletes for voluntary workouts in groups of about 20 on June 15. The school is waiting to hear from Ducey about the ability of those already on campus to continue working out.

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The consequences of reopening college sports—even on a limited basis—have mirrored that of the United States as a whole. A number of universities have reported positive COVID-19 cases. At Clemson, Andrea Adelson of ESPN noted almost one-third of the football team (37 players) have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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