IU restarting football workouts, reports 33 total positive cases

Indiana announced Friday it is restarting football workouts.

At the same time, IU updated its total COVID-19 case count, saying a total of 33 athletes, coaches, and staff have tested positive for the disease since testing began on June 8. A total of 480 tests have been administered.

Athletes began returning to campus in mid-June, and out of the first 299 tests administered by IU athletics through July 8, four returned positive. The next week, however, six football players tested positive for COVID-19, shutting down voluntary workouts for the entire team as of July 17.

That means IU is acknowledging 23 new positive cases that were not previously reported as of its last update on July 17. IU does not specify which team those cases originate from.

Along with football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s soccer, volleyball, and field hockey are also on campus for voluntary workouts. Cross country is slated to return Aug. 18, with other sports returning when IU’s campus opens for the fall semester on Aug. 24.

“Testing will continue and all workout decisions will continue to be re-evaluated by the Indiana medical staff to protect the health and safety of all student-athletes,” IU’s release said, noting that all individuals who have newly tested positive are quarantined and those in “close contact” with an infected person have been isolated.

While the Big Ten has announced a plan to play conference-only schedules this fall, the conference has yet to officially announce a football schedule, or give the official go-ahead for teams to begin their regularly scheduled fall camps.

Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren and Dr. Chris Kratochvil sent a letter to conference athletic directors Thursday saying they “will not, and cannot, proceed with preseason camp until we are certain that we can do so safely and that will depend, in part, on testing.”

“Once we have everything in place to execute our testing protocols effectively, including the appropriate number of tests secured for all fall sports, we can make a decision as to whether preseason camp will begin as currently scheduled,” the letter said. “We anticipate making that decision within the next 5 days.”

Conference-wide medical protocols are expected to be in place Aug. 3. The expectation, according to the letter, is that updated schedules will be released in August, as well.

“Consistent with our collective need to be adaptable to changes in circumstances and evolving medical knowledge, even issuing a schedule does not guarantee that competition will occur,” the letter stated.

As of now, IU’s voluntary football workouts allow for 20 hours per week of athletic activities, including up to eight hours of strength training, six hours of meeting time, and another six hours of walk-throughs.

After announcing a resumption of activities, IU football released a video showing coaches and players entering Memorial Stadium with the caption “Back to work.” Players and coaches were masked, and the video showed temperatures being checked as they entered the facility.