Upon announcing earlier this month that Indiana University would welcome athletes back to Bloomington for voluntary summer workouts, outgoing athletic director Fred Glass offered a clear-eyed assessment of the department’s path forward. Glass admitted there was no way to completely remove the risk that IU athletes and staff members might contract or transmit COVID-19 upon returning to school facilities, but given the recommendations from an expert panel, the university believed it at least had a blueprint in place to significantly reduce that risk.
After two weeks, so far, so good.
IU announced Tuesday that of the 187 COVID-19 tests that doctors have administered to football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball athletes, coaches and staff since June 9, there have been zero positive results. That’s certainly an encouraging sign for Indiana, especially given some of the early reports from athletic departments across the country. Boise State and Kansas State both paused their respective voluntary football workout programs after a rash of positive tests came back. Houston, meanwhile, suspended workouts for all athletes after six players in the department tested positive for COVID-19.
“There’s no playbook and the crystal ball is dark,” Glass said in a Facebook live chat earlier this month. “But I think our path forward is we put the medicine first. It’s all driven by what the doctors say.”
As part of the department’s return-to-campus plan announced in early June, IU athletes and staffers are subject to daily medical checks to have their temperatures taken. The number of participants, including both coaches and players, allowed in a designated workout area depends on the setting. The basketball teams are not allowed to have more than 10 participants on the court at any given time, for example. Football, meanwhile, can send two groups of 10 participants to work out on the Memorial Stadium field, for instance, but once they get there, the groups are not allowed to mix or cross the 50-yard line.
Water fountains are turned off, while high-fives, fist bumps and handshakes are strongly discouraged.