CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Virginia Athletic department released its latest round of COVID-19 testing on Monday, and for the second week in a row, there have been no new positive test results in the program.
UVA football head coach Bronco Mendenhall says, “Our numbers currently, indicate that the UVA football program is one of the safest places on the planet, to be.”
The football team has been able to stay in its own bubble during the preseason, with the players all living in one dorm.
But with the return of all the students to Grounds, Mendenhall says that bubble is going to face a lot more pressure.
“There are variables coming that are going to put increased stress on our players,” says the coach, “for class attendance, and their living circumstances, and then bringing that back into the bubble to play football. That really is what I think most are concerned about.”
The Cavaliers were on the field for their first practice of the fall on Monday.
Every player and coach was wearing a full visor or a mask.
Every drill started with social distancing.
Mendenhall says it was hard to focus on just the X's and O's.
“I would love to say I’m just coaching football,” says Mendenhall. “Actually, my coaches are coaching football more, right now. I’m simply coaching the social distancing and the cultural pandemic protocols necessary, to pull it all off.”
Not everyone will continue to try and pull it off.
The Big Ten will reportedly be the first Power Five conference to suspend its schedule.
Old Dominion postponed all of its fall sports on Monday, as did JMU.
The CAA canceled conference play on July 17th, but the Dukes were hoping to play on as an independent, as long as there was a chance at the NCAA postseason.
JMU Athletic Director Jeff Bourne says with other schools suspending their programs, and dropping below the NCAA mandated 50-percent participation level, it was time to refocus their efforts.
“I’m encouraged about the spring,” says Bourne. “I know we’re all going to work diligently to help move the NCAA along to make some decisions that would put us in a better spot in the spring, to be able to play.”