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Oklahoma Announces 14 Football Players Have Tested Positive for Coronavirus

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJuly 2, 2020

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 23:  A pylon shows the Oklahoma Sooners logo in the end zone during a game against the TCU Horned Frogs on November 23, 2019 at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma.  OU held on to win 28-24.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The Oklahoma Sooners football team announced that 14 total players have tested positive for COVID-19 as of Wednesday.

A total of 111 players have been tested, with seven players testing positive previously and seven players being diagnosed with the coronavirus as of the last round of testing. Two players have fully recovered, while 12 players are considered active cases.

Oklahoma also announced that 72 staff members were tested, with two positive results.

As other programs around the country continue to record positive cases as well, the possibility of the 2020 college football season being canceled—or perhaps postponed until next spring—is starting to feel more feasible.

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley told Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports on Tuesday that the COVID-19 pandemic remains a major focal point for coaches around the country:

"It's on the mind of every coach. It's probably as easy as it's going to be right now when most other students aren't here. There's legitimate concerns when the student body shows up. What's that going to look like? It's the great unknown right now.

"The scary thing about it for us, or the thing that gives you some concern, is that the students show up and a week or two later you're trying to start the season. It's on our minds. The more people in the area, the more potential risk and things you have to worry about."

An unnamed athletic director added: "There's no one in a position of leadership taking on the very difficult challenge of developing the plan for spring football. Given that we are entering July, it now seems unavoidable that we are headed to a fall with a lot of canceled games and perhaps even a national stoppage a few weeks into the season."

The issue college football faces as opposed to many professional sports, as Riley noted, is the difficulty in enacting a bubble environment to keep players away from the public to limit the risk of getting the coronavirus. If students are allowed back on campuses this fall, it will make it difficult to quarantine players.

Contrast that with the NBA, where 22 teams will be quarantined near Orlando, Florida, at the Walt Disney World Resort. That controlled environment should make it easier to keep players safe. Those players are also being paid millions of dollars to take any corresponding health risks, whereas college football players are unpaid.

That adds yet another layer of complexity to the situation. Barring a vaccine or a major downturn in positive coronavirus cases around the United States, expect the possibility of a canceled or postponed season to remain a major point of conversation throughout the summer.

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