Coronavirus is affecting college football programs in very different ways.
Over the last 24 hours two Big Ten programs announced they will quarantine or self-isolate their entire teams for 14 days after seeing a surge in coronavirus cases. At Michigan State a second staffer and one athlete tested positive on Friday. The following day Rutgers took the same action after six additional positive COVID-19 tests. The New Jersey program has had ten cases since students returned to campus.
“We have paused all in-person team activities, quarantined our entire program and will work diligently with Rutgers medical experts, and state and local officials to determine next steps,” a Rutgers spokesman said in a statement released to the media.
The two-week quarantine period coincides with the two-week period where players and coaches can participate in walk-throughs. While Rutgers and Michigan State are stuck inside, their competition will be practicing.
Meanwhile in Oklahoma, the Sooners announced their season will begin a week earlier than expected. This is not their program’s way of “sticking it to corona.” The NCAA approved a joint petition filed by Oklahoma and FCS Missouri State to open the season Aug. 26. By doing so, Oklahoma now has a bye week in-between each of their first three games, giving the program more time manage a wide variety of problems COVID-19 may cause.
This means that if all goes according to plan, Missouri State head coach Bobby Petrino will be thrust back into the national spotlight as one of America’s first college football games. I can already envision the image of his screaming red face on the sideline spreading like wildfire on social media.