Louisville basketball on hold, football in stealth mode

Probably inevitable, with the heightened media focus on Covid-19. 

The University of Louisville basketball program has temporarily suspended practice activities for at least two weeks after two members tested positive for the virus on Monday.

No word yet of any testing results from the football program, which has six times the number of individuals involved. One major distinction between the programs is that football activities are conducted in the great outdoors, providing players with more ability to follow the recommended safety protocols. Would be fascinating to know how many players are wearing masks during weight training and other exercises.

“All proper procedures and protocols are being followed, including the quarantining of those impacted,” the University announced in a news release on Tuesday. “We look forward to a resumption of men’s basketball activities in the near future.”

Expect some kind of announcement from the football program soon … or the media will be circling Scott Satterfield’s abode at the Howard Schnellenberger Football Complex.

According to Cardinal Authority, the basketball players, along with 30 football players, the women’s basketball team, and 15 members of the swimming and diving team, were in “phase one” of the return to campus. U of L had also gone through “phase two” where an additional 30 football and 60 Olympic sport student-athlete arrived on June 10 and began workouts on June 22. 

Was anyone really expecting either program to go for any time without positive tests? Raising the question still again about whether collegiate sports will be able to resume in the fall.

Nobody really knows for certain whether there will be a vaccine anytime soon for Covid-19. Or for that matter, whether a new strain of the virus will follow in the footsteps of the current pandemic. Little concern is voiced about the thousands of protesters in the streets, accompanied by significantly more testing and predictable increases in Covid-19. The critics quickly become aroused, changing course when the focus is on college athletics. 

The universities, the general public and the fanning-the-flame media are going to have get past the stigma of positive tests. Hopefully way in advance of Election Day in November. College athletics consists of a segment of the population which has been least affected by the virus.

Life as we know it just can’t come to a grinding halt. Decisions are going to have to be made soon on the best ways to move forward with college athletics. The coaches want to coach, the players want to play, and fans want to watch.

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Wouldn’t you know it? The proverbial ink had not dried on the above post when the New York Liberty announced that Asia Durr, one of our all-time favorite women players, had contracted the coronavirus. She will miss the 2020 season and return next year.

“I had to make the difficult decision on a deadline to opt out as a medical High Risk player,” she wrote on Twitter. “So much about this virus is unknown and my heart is heavy, even as I make the decision that I know is best for my long term wellness.”

Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.