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Syracuse football players chose not to participate in training camp practices Thursday and Friday due to concerns with other schools’ policies for protecting against the coronavirus.
The players held a series of meetings — some including head coach Dino Babers and Director of Athletics John Wildhack — instead of practicing, Syracuse.com reported.
“At the request of our student-athletes on the football team, we will conduct COVID-19 testing twice per week beginning the week of September 7,” Wildhack said in a statement released Friday afternoon.
Director of Athletics John Wildhack’s statement after @Stephen_Bailey1‘s report earlier today re: football not practicing yesterday.
“At the request of our student-athletes on the football team, we will conduct COVID-19 testing twice per week beginning the week of September 7.” pic.twitter.com/tcEO7UG5nH
— Andrew Crane (@CraneAndrew) August 7, 2020
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Though players are comfortable with SU’s COVID-19 protocols, they are unsure of the policies of their ACC opponents and nonconference opponent Liberty, according to Syracuse.com. Babers has said that SU has set a standard for COVID-19 testing and procedures, but the university has not made players’ test results public.
The ACC’s plan mandates weekly testing for football players, as well as isolation for infected athletes and quarantine for those who have been in contact with them. Liberty, meanwhile, won’t require tests for students returning to campus.
Thursday was supposed to be Syracuse’s first day of training camp after the team completed its voluntary workout stage. Babers during a virtual press conference Thursday afternoon indicated that practice would continue as scheduled.
“The energy moving up to this week has been outstanding,” Babers said. “We’re kind of tired of doing all the other stuff; we want to get back to stuff we know how to do, which is football.”
Cooper Dawson, a redshirt freshman defensive lineman, is the only Syracuse player who has publicly opted out of the season. However, other players are still considering whether to opt out, Babers said.
Players in the Pac-12 are threatening to sit out the season unless their demands, which range from medical protection from COVID-19 to social justice reform, are met. Athletes in the Big Ten have asked for similar health protections from their conference.
“I know there’s a lot of talk of that going on. It’s not exclusive to just the Pac-12. All guys from all different schools are talking,” SU redshirt senior OL Airon Servais said Thursday.
It’s unclear if Syracuse players will continue to sit out practice going forward.
This story is developing and will be updated with further reporting.
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