Most of LSU’s football players have contracted and recovered from COVID-19, Coach Ed Orgeron said Tuesday, leaving the coaching staff hopeful those players will remain eligible to play the bulk of the season before they have to be tested again.

Orgeron made those comments while discussing how he would plan for the possibility of seemingly healthy starters or regulars suddenly being deemed ineligible to suit up for the defending national champions because of a positive COVID-19 test.

The coach explained that because players who have recovered from COVID-19 do not have to be tested again for 90 days under Southeastern Conference protocols, he figures he won’t likely have to worry about those who’ve come back from the virus suddenly being ruled out again because of it.

“I think, not all of our players, but most of our players have caught it,” Orgeron said during a video conference, adding later that he did not know the percentage of the roster that had tested positive.

“I think, hopefully, that once you catch it, you don’t get it again,” Orgeron added. “I’m not a doctor. I think they have that 90-day window, so most of the players that have caught it, we do feel like they’ll be eligible for games.

“So we look at the players that have caught it and say, `OK these guys should be eligible,'” Orgeron continued. “We look at the players who haven’t caught it; we talk to them about being very, very careful so they’re eligible for games. But we know that the players that haven’t caught it, we have to have some backups in their position ready in case they catch it. So we’re looking at our roster in that manner.”

Orgeron did not go into detail about whether any LSU players who tested positive have experienced symptoms. While COVID-19, which has killed more than 190,000 Americans, is more deadly among older people and people with pre-existing conditions, it has caused lingering health problems in some younger, healthy people – including athletes.

BIG TEN: The University of Wisconsin chancellor said Tuesday that Big Ten football will remain on hold until there are answers to questions about COVID-19 testing and tracing, along with possible long-term heart issues related to the coronavirus.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank said once the Big Ten university leaders have their concerns addressed “we will try to plan a delayed season.”

A month after postponing games, conference leaders are considering playing a fall season after all. There were weekend meetings on a plan to begin play as soon as mid-October.

Blank, appearing at a congressional hearing on compensation for college athletes, was asked by Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) about the Big Ten’s decision last month and whether the conference might reverse course.

“There were several main reasons for that,” Blank said. “One was that we were uncertain we could do the level of testing and contact tracing that we needed to keep athletes safe. Secondly, there was this growing evidence about heart-related myocarditis and that evidence was uncertain and it wasn’t clear what it means and we wanted to know more. There were a few other minor reasons.”

She would not predict which way a vote to return to play would go.

“Decisions within the Big Ten are largely majority based decisions, but I’ll be honest, we almost always decide everything by consensus. We very rarely take votes,” Blank said.

A court filing earlier this month disclosed that Big Ten presidents and chancellors voted 11-3 in favor of postponing all fall sports. Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State voted against the move.

When the next decision comes from the Big Ten was unclear, though KETV in Omaha posted video Tuesday of University of Nebraska President Ted Carter saying, “We’re getting ready to announce the Huskers and Big Ten football tonight,” before he spoke at an unrelated news conference.

Carter later told KLKN in Lincoln that statement was taken out of context.

“When there is any news to share or confirm regarding any Big Ten board decision, it will be announced by the Big Ten,” University of Nebraska spokeswoman Deb Fiddelke said.

WEST VIRGINIA: West Virginia’s football team has two active confirmed coronavirus cases, Coach Neal Brown said Tuesday.

Brown said at his weekly news conference that two freshman walk-ons tested positive, the only such cases in the program. Brown also said a defensive lineman sat out Saturday’s season-opening win over Eastern Kentucky due to contact tracing. Brown identified the lineman as freshman Sean Martin and said he was disappointed because Martin had been expected to play in the opener.

West Virginia (1-0) is idle this week and plays at No. 11 Oklahoma State (0-0) on Sept. 26.

AIR FORCE: The Air Force Falcons will play two football games this season against fellow service academies Army and Navy.

The Falcons’ abbreviated schedule includes hosting Navy on Oct. 3 and a trip to West Point, New York, to face Army on Nov. 7. The military academies compete annually for the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy, which goes to the academy with the best record in the round-robin competition.

The school announced Monday that only Air Force Academy cadets would be permitted to attend the game at Falcon Stadium due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They will social distance and wear masks. The base remains closed to the public.

 

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