Ed Orgeron 'Was a Bit Too Transparent' with COVID-19 Comment, Says LSU AD

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 16, 2020

Ed Orgeron, head coach of the NCAA national champion LSU football team, wears a mask as he listens to Vice President Mike Pence speak at a roundtable discussion at Tiger Stadium on the LSU campus in Baton Rouge, La., Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

LSU athletic director Scott Woodward said Wednesday head football coach Ed Orgeron was "a bit too transparent" when he suggested Tuesday "most" of the Tigers' football players already had COVID-19.

"There's lies, damn lies and statistics," Woodward told reporters. "We're very careful with [the coronavirus], and as long as I think we have the proper oversight with what we're doing, we're in a very good direction."

He also cited two federal laws, HIPAA and FERPA, that prevent the school from providing more details about the team's total number of COVID-19 cases, which he said "doesn't tell the whole story" anyway.

LSU is scheduled to open the 2020 season Sept. 26 when it hosts Mississippi State in Death Valley. It's part of a 10-game, conference-only schedule enacted by the SEC to play amid the pandemic.

Woodward, who suggested any cases the Tigers have dealt with came because of outside social interactions and not football activities, said he's confident in the systems they've put in place with play set to begin.

"I think our COVID protocol is robust and good, and the kids and their parents are happy with it," he said. "I'm happy with it, and I think it speaks of how and what we're doing things."

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The Tigers are the reigning national champions but their title defense is going to look a lot different.

Conferences big and small around the country have moved forward with different plans and procedures because of the pandemic. The Big Ten and Pac-12, two of the Power Five conferences, originally postponed football until the spring, though the Big Ten announced Wednesday it'll now try to start in late October.

In turn, it's hard to project how the College Football Playoff committee is going to handle the selection process with so many moving parts, especially if conferences are forced at any point to halt play before deciding whether to resume during the winter.

Meanwhile, LSU is also attempting to repeat after being forced to replace several key contributors from the title-winning team, including Heisman Trophy winner Joe Burrow. The quarterback was selected first overall by the Cincinnati Bengals in the 2020 draft and made his NFL debut Sunday.

If everything goes according to plan, the Tigers will wrap up the regular season Dec. 5 against Ole Miss.