UCO Athletics Adjust to COVID-19

The University of Central Oklahoma is preparing for the fall semester and the athletics department is developing a plan to proceed safely with sports amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

UCO Athletics are on the path to playing games in the fall, but some doubt remains. An outbreak of corona virus could derail any institution in the coming months, and sports programs are refraining from making final decisions about upcoming seasons until they see how the virus impacts their team.

The university will make more information available as the season draws closer regarding fan attendance at events.

(Chris Brannick via Broncho Sports)
(Chris Brannick via Broncho Sports)

The Vista spoke with UCO Assistant Athletic Director Chris Brannick and Head Football Coach Nick Bobeck to gather some clarity on what to expect for the remainder of 2020.

If an athlete tests positive for the virus, they will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days. To return, an athlete must test again and receive a negative result.

However, the entire team will not quarantine if a player tests positive. The university will conduct contact tracing in order to find other players that may have spent time with the infected athlete. UCO will direct athletes that test positive to an off-campus facility that offers testing.

The department put a hold on mandatory practices for several months for the safety of the staff and student athletes. In June, the athletics department held voluntary practices.

About 100 out of the 400 athletes participated. These practices focused on strength and conditioning, with only one or two athletes doing drills at a time.

“If we can have six to seven weeks of continuous work before our first game, we can have [players] ready. Ideally it would be eight weeks,” Bobeck said.

This would mean real practices that incorporate drills, defensive/offensive schemes and special teams work would need to begin at the beginning of July.

Game one for UCO Football is set for September 12 against Central Missouri.

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