A bombshell report from The Fort Collins Coloradoan does not look good for Colorado State's athletic department. According to the story, numerous Colorado State athletes and staffers have claimed the department's administration is working overtime to cover up the COVID-19 heath threat. The article focuses mainly on the football team, where players have allegedly been told not to report coronavirus symptoms among other thing.
Miles Blumhardt of The Fort Collins Coloradoan spoke with 10 players and staff members who were concerned about the athletic department's handling of COVID-19. The opening paragraph of the story spells things out concisely:
"CSU football players and university athletic department staff say coaches have told players not to report COVID-19 symptoms, threatened players with reduced playing time if they quarantine and claim CSU is altering contact tracing reports to keep players practicing."
One player claimed coaches told players not to inform trainers if they had coronavirus symptoms because they would have to miss practice. A recent spike in cases on the team likely stemmed from a Fourth of July holiday party that numerous athletes attended. Players and staff told Blumhardt there were 27 players missing due to COVID-19 before voluntary practices were paused by the university on July 29.
Among the crazy details from this story is the fact that football players who had COVID-19 symptoms practiced in close contact with their teammates. One player had symptoms, was coughing during practice and wasn't wearing a mask. He reportedly didn't want to report his symptoms or get tested because the he would have been forced to quarantine and miss practice.
Then there's this:
"According to football players and staff, players have been exposed to other players with symptoms and who tested positive — and while some were quarantined, others were allowed to practice."
Adding to the mayhem is the fact that new head coach Steve Addazio and defensive coordinator Chuck Heater rarely wear masks despite the school's stated guidelines requiring them. Addazio is 61 and Heater is 67.
The report also alleges there is a cover-up going on in order to keep athletes practicing:
"Players and athletic staff also voiced concern over the reporting protocol, claiming quarantine procedures vary wildly and that coaches are coercing health administrators not to quarantine athletes so they can continue to practice."
These are serious allegations and must be investigated. But it's worth pointing out athletic director Joe Parker disputes many of the claims. Several football players have jumped to defend the program on Twitter:
More will be coming out on this and we'll update you as it does.