Colorado State football players and athletic department staff say coaches have tried to cover up COVID-19 cases, according to Miles Blumhardt of the Coloradoan.
Players and staff told Blumhardt coaches told players not to report symptoms and threatened to reduce playing time for those who quarantine. They also alleged the team is altering contact tracing reports. CSU President Joyce McConnell announced an investigation into the allegations Tuesday night, per Justin Michael of DNVR Sports:
The Rams had 16 confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, while 27 players were missing because of COVID-19 during the last practice on July 29. The team was forced to pause workouts because of the outbreak.
"I believe there is a cover-up going on at CSU," an anonymous player said. "But they could only cover it up so long and now that we have so many cases across athletics, they can't cover it up anymore. It’s not about the health and safety of the players but about just trying to make money off the players."
There were 10 different players and staff members who provided similar stories to the Coloradoan.
"There are some red flags in the athletic department, but the common denominator with this administration is to protect the coaches before the student-athletes and that makes them feel more like cattle than student-athletes," a staff member said.
Other players have refuted the story on social media (warning NSFW language):
The school is still waiting on results from 150 athletes tested on Monday.
Players said head coach Steve Addazio, who was hired in December after an extended stretch at Boston College, hasn't followed protocols, including wearing masks, and has pushed for practices over safety.
"A lot of players don't feel safe at football practice," one player said.
CSU athletic director Joe Parker denied that the staff is subverting safety protocols.
"There is no influence from our coaching staff on those kinds of decisions, and those decisions are made outside of the athletic department and that is the way I want it," he said.