Director of Athletics Jim Senter and head football coach Dana Dimel announced on Sunday that the start of UTEP’s preseason football practice has been postponed.
Via a news release, school officials shared that, “out of safety considerations for all parties,” the entire football team (student-athletes, coaches and staff) was tested for COVID-19 on Thursday, August 6.
As a result of the testing, school officials say that four members of the football program, all student-athletes, have tested positive for COVID-19; all were asymptomatic. These student-athletes, plus their roommates, have been placed into a 14-day quarantine retroactive to Saturday, August 8.
The rest of the team, including student-athletes, coaches and staff, entered a five-day quarantine retroactive to Saturday, August 8 at the recommendation of team medical personnel and will be retested on Wednesday, Aug. 12.
Once results are received from the retest on Wednesday, a determination will be made on when practices will begin.
“It was important to us that we tested everybody before beginning contact drills. We have protocols in place and we are following them. We are testing and the testing is doing what it was intended to do – identify asymptomatic individuals who are positive, UTEP Athletic Director Jim Senter shared. “We are doing everything that we can to mitigate the spread of the disease. While we have to put our entire team in quarantine for five days, the safety of our student-athletes, coaches and staff is the top priority.”
Only partial results were available on Saturday, causing Sunday’s practice to be cancelled. The remaining results were obtained on Sunday.
“I am fully supportive of the recommendations of our Sports Medicine personnel and team doctors. We can’t wait to resume preparations for our fall season, but safety comes first,” UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel said.
UTEP officials add that the Larry K. Durham Sports Center, which houses the athletic training room, football locker room, strength and conditioning center and football coaches’ offices, will be closed for extensive cleaning on Monday, August 10.