LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The 2020 college football season appears to be on life support.
Tuesday, the Big Ten and PAC-12 postponed their fall seasons due to the coronavirus pandemic. Conference leaders are eyeing a potential return to the field in the Spring of 2021.
Despite the national news, University of Louisville Head Coach Scott Satterfield is pushing for his team to play ball.
“We have a bubble within our team right here, and we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe,” Satterfield told the Today Show’s Craig Melvin on Tuesday. “We feel that it’s just as safe, if not safer, for our guys to be here within our protocols and also have a purpose in their lives to play football. They’re not going to be going out. They’re not going to be running around the town. They’re going to be focused for the next five months. So we think it’s extremely safe for our guys to continue down this path.”
The Cardinals returned to practice on June 8. Satterfield said since their return to the field, they’ve had just four positive COVID-19 tests among 115 players. Satterfield credited UofL’s medical staff and the long list of protocols.
“Our training staff here has been phenomenal. Our medical team here at the University of Louisville has been unbelievable,” he explained. “We actually tested everybody again this morning. So we’re doing everything the doctors have asked us to do.”
The players have echoed their coach’s sentiments. Several Cardinals have joined hundreds of others across the country by tweeting “#WeWantToPlay.”
Tuesday, senior linebacker C.J. Avery told reporters the players are all on the same page and want their voices to be heard.
“Players want to get on the field,” Avery said. “Players are ready to play man, and that’s just the platform that we have so why not use it.”
Satterfield agreed and said as long as the medical professionals allow, the team will continue moving forward.
“We’re doing everything we can to lean on our medical advisory board and what they’re telling us,” Satterfield said. “And right now, in the ACC, our medical advisory board is telling us to move forward.”
The Cardinals are scheduled to open the season against Western Kentucky University on Sept. 12.
UofL Sports Information Director Kenny Klein said players are following a long list of protocols. They include:
- Student-athletes return to campus 1 week prior to activity
- Student-athletes are given educational materials and reviewed
- Education on preventing spread of germs / Prevention for spreading the disease
- Emphasize the importance of protecting the Cardinal Family (Must abide by recommendations outside of athletic facilities
- Student-athletes complete pre-participation exam paperwork
- Student-athletes are administered a Covid-19 test
- Student-athletes pass pre-participation exam administered by Team Physicians
- Student-athletes with underlying health issues may be subject to enhanced screening measures before cleared for activity
- Mask will be worn to and from the facility by student-athletes
- Designated entrance and exit (No student-athlete thumb access)
- Staff will wear mask while interacting with student-athletes inside
- Gloves will be supplied for use as necessary
- Pass electronic daily symptom checklist
- Practice physical distancing
- Temperature checks (All individuals in building)
- Disinfecting of used areas: Wiping of equipment after use and hydrostatic spraying
- - Facilities, Janitorial, Athletic Training, Weight Room, Nutrition and Equipment Staff
- Sanitation measures
- - Personal hydration drinks and supplements
- - Showering post activity
- - Laundry
- Enter through 1 entrance
- **Building will be cleaned/disinfected paying particular attention to high touching areas at the conclusion of each group: Door handles / Locker handles / Bathroom sink, toilet, and shower surfaces**- Facility Maintenance
- **Building open to only essential personal: Coaches / Staff / Food services: Temperature checks**-Develop a plan for these individuals
Daily Training Protocol
- Student-athletes will report at assigned time to the facility front entrance COVID-19 checkpoint
- COVID-19 checklist will be reviewed, temperature check administered, Pulse O2 administered if necessary, hand sanitizer application, and clean mask issued (athlete should wear mask in the facility but may take it off when he/she is in the weight room or on the field for training)
- Physical distancing (12 feet) should be maintained in the facility and on the training field
- Student-athletes will access the Howard Schnellenberger facility through the front entrance and follow designated path to locker room. All facility doors will be propped open with door stops
- Student-athletes will remove masks, change into workout attire and then will follow designated path to weight room
- Each student-athlete will be given their own workout towel and disposable gatorade and water bottle
- After training, student-athletes will follow designated path back to locker room, shower, and follow designated path to athletic training room for treatment/recovery (if applicable) or to facility exit at front entrance double doors
- Following the student-athletes departure, any equipment used for training will be disinfected
- Athletic Training Room
- Treatment times will be coordinated around the workout/training times to maximize efficiency of time spent in the facility
- Treatment times will be sent daily to the student-athlete
- ATCs will wear masks and disinfect hands
- Table and equipment will be sanitized after each usage and entire room will be sanitized at the end of the day
- Sickness/Injury Reporting
- Student-athletes should contact respective athletic trainer via electronic means at the first signs of illness/injury
- Initial exam will take place outside of the facility as directed by athletic trainer
- A student-athlete SHOULD NOT ENTER THE FACILITY WITH ANY SYMPTOMS OF ILLNESS
- All meals at the facility will be grab and go meals
- No meals will be consumed in the practice facility
- Individual bottled water, gatorade, will be available
- Communal coolers will NOT be used
- Laundry will be placed in cart for washing
- Laundry will be washed daily per laundry sanitation procedures
- Dirty and clean laundry carts to be labeled and only used as labeled to prevent cross contamination
- All laundry operations will be conducted using application of gloves, masks, hand sanitizers, and hand washing
- Sanitized after workout and using Clorox Hydrostatic Sprayer at the end of the day
- Each student-athlete will receive a personal shower towel after each workout
- After shower, towel will be placed in the dirty laundry cart
- Locker Room
- Workouts will be scheduled to accommodate physical distancing (6 feet) in the locker room
- Locker room is only for changing clothes and showering after workout
- No loitering. Prompt departure after showering will be enforced
- Locker room will be sanitized daily
- Weight Room
- Student-athletes will enter at designated training time
- Physical distancing (12 feet) should be maintained throughout workout
- Training groups will be limited to 20 student-athletes
- Performance coaches must wear masks
- Implement disinfectant protocol after each workout
- Personal disposable gatorade and water bottles only
- Student-athletes will depart immediately post workout
- Spotting by strength and conditioning coaches only
- One student-athlete per rack/station
To prevent the spread of germs:
- Stay home when you are sick, and contact your athletic trainer.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Wear cloth mask when it public settings.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze/cough or cough into your elbow. Immediately throw used tissue away.
- Avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick, avoid contact with other people entirely.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.