UK’s Stoops addresses the abrupt end to spring practice

UK’s Stoops addresses the abrupt end to spring practice
UK head coach Mark Stoops (Source: WAVE 3 News)

(WAVE) - UK head football coach Mark Stoops said on Friday that he is worried about the college football season, amid the current global pandemic.

“I am (concerned). But as you know, I also try to stay in my lane as best as possible," Stoops said on a media video conference. “We are going to continue to work and prepare to play that opening game. That is where my mindset is. To say that it hasn’t crossed my mind, or that I don’t think about it, that’s a lie. You have to block it out and continue to push and work and do the best you can to be prepared. So that’s what I’m worried about is getting the team ready.”

The Cats were able to get in five spring practices before the NCAA and SEC cancelled all remaining athletic activities.

“It’s a difficult time," he said. “But again, tell me one person that’s not inconvenienced by this? It is what it is. It gives you a great opportunity to spend quality family time. I think that’s very, very important. We’ll continue first and foremost to support that. But then, it’s doing the things necessary that you can with the program, whether it be staying on top of staff and encouraging staff to do their part with their position group and the team. It’s also important to help the community as best you can, reach out and help people the best you can.”

Stoops said that he has discussed ways to financially help those community members affected by the shutdowns.

“It hasn’t been talked about out loud, but it certainly has crossed my mind. I think that’s a great question and a great point, "Stoops said. “Yes, absolutely, I’m prepared to give back. Chantel (Stoops) and I have been active in this community for a long time, and it’s really important for us to give back right now. But, it’s also important to give back to the university if need be. We haven’t talked about that. I think it’s probably too early for our administration to fully comprehend what’s going to happen the rest of this year … well, they probably have a good idea about what’s going to happen this year (fiscal year 2019-20 that goes through June) … but moving forward, nobody really knows. I think that’s a great question and a great point. Yes, I would be open to that personally – giving back, helping and helping this university to make sure we have the ability to put the resources into our players, which is most important to me, continuing to develop our players in all areas of their life.”

He was asked if any of the UK players has tested positive for COVID-19.

“No, not that I’m aware of right now unless things have changed in the last 24 hours," he said. "I touch base with Gabe (Amponsah), our trainer, just about every day. I checked in with him yesterday and everything was clear. We had one scare, we had one player that was sick and did have the flu. He did do the things necessary to be quarantined and quarantine himself. Our trainers and our people did a fantastic job of isolating him and then also supporting him with food and things of that nature and medicine to help him until the results came back and fortunately, they came back negative. He had the flu, but he did not have COVID-19.”

The Cats season opener is scheduled for Saturday, September 5, against Eastern Michigan. That is also the new date for Kentucky Derby 146.

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