RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - During an interview on CNN this past Saturday night, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, Brian Hainline, didn’t sugarcoat the details.
“Right now, if testing in the U.S. stays the way it is, there’s no way we can go forward with sports,” Hainline said.
Hainline cited increased risk in coronavirus infection once student bodies return to campuses and socialization begins. On Monday, the University of North Carolina pulled an about face and said it will go to virtual learning, after a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases after the first week of on-campus instruction. Hainline also says a lack of testing and tracing contributes to his assessment.
“We’re not in a place today where we could safely play sports.”
Here in the commonwealth, Virginia Tech has kept its athletic department COVID-19 number in-house. School officials say a dashboard will be available with campus-wide numbers once students return.
As for UVA, the Cavaliers have been announcing their test results weekly, and there have been no cases among Wahoo athletic programs in the last three weeks. Still, while things have gone well so far in the Wahoos’ football bubble, concern exists for when the rest of the students return.
“The reality of it is we’re still college kids that have been in quarantine for months on end. When students get back, there will be that increased temptation to kind of burst the bubble and it will be tougher,”noted UVA senior linebacker Charles Snowden. “It’ll be tough for all of us, but I think we’ve gotta give it a shot, and I believe in us.”
As for Hainline’s remarks this past weekend, Snowden says it certainly raises concerns, but he’s putting faith in his team’s ability to accomplish things together.
“Coming from the head medical official from the NCAA, that’s definitely not what you want to hear going into fall camp,” the senior linebacker said. “Here at UVA, Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall has done a great job, everyone who really worked on it, just in terms of getting us into one place, getting us food, shelter, giving us structure throughout the day to where we don’t really have a choice but to stay in the bubble.
Snowden also credits his teammates for doing a good job at holding each other accountable. His fellow linebacker, Noah Taylor, also expressed being comfortable on grounds.
“I think being here right now is one of the safest places to be,” Taylor said.
Virginia is set to open its season on September 19 at Virginia Tech, while the Hokies are scheduled to kick off on September 12 at home against NC State. The first ACC game is scheduled for September 10, while the Big 12 and SEC are planning to begin later in September.
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