USC football halts workouts because of positive COVID-19 tests

USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy)
USC football head coach Clay Helton. (Alicia de Artola/Reign of Troy) /

USC football is pausing workouts after multiple players test positive for COVID-19.

USC football’s smooth sailing on the coronavirus front has come to an end.

On Wednesday, the Trojans announced the decision to pause workouts for football and water polo because of eight positive coronavirus tests between the two sports.

Workouts will be delayed until Monday at least.

USC football’s positive tests have been linked to community spread.

Thus ends a stretch from July 18 through Aug. 21 with just one positive result in 654 tests across all student-athletes involved in on-campus workouts.

Fortunately, the new positives have not been linked to workouts themselves, which have been held outdoors and have remained non-contact.

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Instead, USC claims via a press release that contact tracing confirmed “the virus was contracted off-campus as a result of increased community spread.”

A recent spike in positive cases among the USC student body at large may be related to COVID-19 finding its way to the student-athlete population as well.

“We have effective mitigation strategies in place,” said athletic director Mike Bohn, “but out of an abundance of caution we are pausing athletics activities in football and men’s water polo while we await additional test results and USC completes the contact tracing process.”

USC and the Pac-12 opted to cancel the fall football season because of worries over the impact of COVID-19 on the overall health of student-athletes. Another element of the cancelation was linked to local restrictions against large gatherings. With USC and UCLA unable to hold full-contact team practices, it seemed unlikely they could start the season on time anyways.

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The lastest outbreak highlights the difficulty of continuing football activities without the ability to go into a bubble like the NBA or NHL. Even without moving forward towards normal practice, the Trojans have had to pause workouts late in August. If the season were still slated to begin on Sept. 26, the impact would have been far greater than just a few days of sitting out.

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