The Maryland football team announced that it will not practice Monday, and that a decision on Saturday’s home game against Michigan State “will be determined in consultation with university medical staff" after eight players tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
The team said that daily antigen testing continues, per Big Ten Conference protocols, supplemented with daily PCR testing for all football student-athletes, coaches and staff. The program will provide an update on testing results this week.
A surge in players testing positive for the coronavirus forced the program last Wednesday to suspend all activities, and Saturday’s game against No. 3 Ohio State was canceled. Terps players were moved to a hotel to isolate from possible further infection until Sunday morning, conducting meetings virtually and in-person with masks and physical distancing.
Maryland coach Mike Locksley said Thursday that he was uncertain when the players and coaches will get medical clearance to return to practice. The Terps (2-1) and Spartans (1-3) are scheduled to kick off at noon at Maryland Stadium in College Park.
“We knew that heading into this adjusted season that there could be hiccups along the way,” said Locksley, who is in his second year leading the Terps. “Much like how we’ve addressed and managed working through these things during the 2020 season, we wake up and we deal with the rules that are given for that day, and yesterday afternoon, we found out that we wouldn’t be playing this weekend. We immediately went to finding solutions to the issue. Right now, our job is to stay active, keep our team focused to get ready for whenever it’s deemed safe to play.”
The school announced last week that eight players tested positive for COVID-19 over seven days. That number influenced athletic director Damon Evans and president Darryll Pines to make the decision to stop all team-related activities following the recommendation of university health officials and in consultation with officials from the Big Ten.
The university also announced last week that 1,510 on-campus PCR screening tests have been conducted for student-athletes across all sports between September 30 and November 10. Ten student-athletes have tested positive.
Maryland is the second Big Ten school to lose a game to the coronavirus. Wisconsin canceled two games after a COVID-19 outbreak affected 30 members — 17 players and 13 staff — since Oct. 21, but the Badgers returned to play a road game at Michigan on Saturday night.
Michigan State coach Mel Tucker detailed how his team was planning to approach an uncertain week after Saturday’s loss to Indiana.
“We’re expecting to play,” Tucker said. “I don’t know what their situation is. I’m not sure why they are playing or not playing. We’re going to be prepared to play as long as we can meet the thresholds in terms of players available and the COVID numbers that are set forth by the Big Ten. As long as we can stay within those numbers and field a team, we’re going to play. We’re going to prepare to play until we’re told differently. We need to play football.”