30 LSU players out for COVID; Southern cancels two games
By: TRACEY JAGNEAUX
Thirty of the 115 LSU football players have either tested positive for COVID-19 or been quarantined because they have come in contact with someone who has tested positive, that according to Sports Illustrated.
The news comes just at the time that the state recorded its highest total of cases since April. Louisiana reported four straight days of more than 700 cases last week.
According to LSU Athletic Director Scott Woodward, players testing positive for the virus is to be expected and it allows the school to learn how to deal with the situation.
“You learn how to deal with them: you quarantine and you isolate, and then you track and trace,” Woodward said. “I think starting early has been to our advantage to really get there and get to this education and this protocol where we can do these positive things so we’re not scrambling and rushing in July and August.”
LSU is not the only school in the country facing the fact that players are testing positive. Kansas State, Clemson and Texas have all had positive test results from a handful of their players.
According to LSU’s plan, players who test positive for COVID-19 must be placed in isolation for 10 days and without medicine must remain free of symptoms for three days before any return is granted.
Shelly Mullenix, director of wellness and a senior associate athletic director, understood this situation could arise and believed the department of athletic training was ready.
“This is what we planned for,” Mullenix said. “We planned for this. We executed everything we can do on the front end.”
Part of the reason that the players tested positive or were exposed is believed to be because of the opening up of restaurants and bars within the Baton Rouge area, including the area known as Tigerland.
“I can tell you the experiment that we’re going through in Baton Rouge has nothing to do with football,” Mullenix said. “The restrictions lifted with bars and restaurants, and this happened with people who attended bars and restaurants. It shows exactly that they need to pay attention to the rules. Don’t go out when you tell them not to go out.”
LSU players were tested for COVID-19 when they returned to campus earlier this month.
LSU is scheduled to open play at home on September 5th against UT-San Antonio.
Across town, the Southern University Jaguars confirmed that they have cancelled the first two games of their 2020 season, which includes the opening game against Tennessee State that was scheduled for September 5th in Detroit and the opening home game on September 12th against Florida A&M.
Now with just nine games on the Jaguar schedule, Southern will begin the season on the road September 19th when they travel to Alabama A&M. The first home game for the Jaguars is scheduled for September 26th as they host Jackson State.
Already there are contingency plans in place should the annual Bayou Classic between Southern and Grambling be moved from its traditional place in New Orleans. Other venues in discussion are Southern University campus, Tiger Stadium and the Independence Bowl in Shreveport.
The annual game between Southern University and Grambling State has been played in New Orleans since 1974. If the game is played outside of New Orleans it will be the first time since 2005, when the Classic was played in Houston.