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COVID-19 remains biggest opponent for Big Ten football teams – Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio 2020-11-26 14:45:43 –

Piscataway, NJ (AP) — The coronavirus pandemic was considered by many coaches to be the biggest enemy of the Big Ten Conference team as the virus enters the delayed football season.

The annual boastful rights game between Minnesota and 18 Wisconsin was canceled on Tuesday due to another outbreak among the Gophers.

And it’s just a game. In the first months of the season, Purdue coach Jeff Broome, Wisconsin coach Paul Christo, and Maryland coach Mike Locksley tested positive for COVID-19.

It’s hard to say how many were taken outdoors by the virus because of federal law that limits what the 14 universities in the conference can say about the health of college athletes.

Here is a snapshot.

— Rutgers has sent off 30 players during the summer outbreak.

— Minnesota participated in the game with 61 scholarship players last week. (The FBS program allows 85 scholarships on the roster.)

— Illinois lost about 12 players early in the season, including the start of the quarterback.

— Maryland had to suspend the program due to a positive test and close contact restrictions. On a positive test, the player must be quarantined for 21 days.

It was a journey to reach this point. The meeting canceled the season in August. Five weeks later, the league decided to play after being assured that athletes could be tested for the virus daily and that there was a virus-related heart disease screening protocol for those who tested positive. Decided.

Fans got football, but it was hard for players and coaches.

The pandemic is the first discussion by Rutgers coach Greg Schiano at the beginning of his daily meeting with the players. His message since last weekend focused on photography. Eighteen of the 62 planned Division I games were canceled or postponed, so 36 teams did not have the opportunity to play.

He has been providing medical advice heard nationwide since March. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and practice social distance.

“What we are trying to say is that we have to take care of it here,” Schiano said. “We can’t take care of it anywhere, but if we take care of the business, get a little lucky and be able to play the whole season, that’s what we want to do.”

The Wisconsin program has been hit harder than any other program in the league, with three games canceled. After the outbreak on campus, he lost the match between Nebraska (October 31st) and Purdue (November 7th). Minnesota’s cancellation means that badgers played only three games this season on the remaining four weekends, including Saturday’s washout, after a surge among Gopher players.

When Wisconsin officials announced on November 3 that the Purdue University match would be abolished, the team had 27 active cases involving 15 players and 12 staff.

“I think it’s 100% worth the various things thrown at us. We test every day and do that,” said Isaiah Loudermilk, a senior Badgers defensive end. .. “I’ll do anything this season. I think there are a lot of people like that. The main thing is to stay safe. That’s why so many people don’t really do much. When we leave this facility, we have a room. It’s like a sacrifice we have to make. “

Counting the injured, Minnesota coach PJ Freck lost 22 players in a 34-31 victory over Purdue last weekend.

One of the most difficult things for athletes, Freck said, was getting a call saying the test returned positive.

“It challenges you. It does everything you can to test your patience and tests your commitment to the process,” Freck said. “It tests your nerves. It tests your anxiety. It tests your culture. It tests everything as a coach and a man because it is in minutes.”

It’s all part of a new reality for players and coaches working under the new rules. Meeting rooms are many times more virtual. Back hugs and pads are now mostly air pumps.

“This year is one of the most difficult years,” Freck said. “I think every coach will sit there and say that.”

Maryland played a home game with Third Ohio, and Michigan was canceled after Locksley and a few players tested positive. Terrapins wants to return to the practice field on Monday and play against the 12th Indiana on Saturday.

However, the momentum created by the consecutive victories of Minnesota and Pennsylvania State Universities has been lost.

“We knew there could be problems along the way towards this tuned season,” Locksley said. “Every week, I’m preparing for my soccer opponent and my two COVID opponents.”

Even non-football issues are a challenge.

The Ohio State University and Rutgers University are eating in teams instead of players going home to eat.

Buckeyes coach Ryan Day said it was the players’ sacrifice that the fans couldn’t see.

“It’s a brotherhood that is part of a family and trying to do something special,” Day said. “But they haven’t played in front of 100,000 people and haven’t seen their families after the match. They haven’t seen their friends. They haven’t received immediate feedback. And that’s important. Just so. . “

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