Multiple Colorado State players and staff reportedly unhappy with handling of coronavirus protocols

Nick Bromberg
·4 min read

Colorado State’s football team is currently not working out because of a coronavirus outbreak among players. And numerous players and staff members are reportedly unhappy with the way that the school is executing the coronavirus protocols it has put in place.

The Coloradoan said that 10 players and staffers had contacted the paper with their concerns about the way that the athletic department was handling the coronavirus pandemic. And one player went so far as to accuse the school of a “cover-up.”

“I believe there is a cover-up going on at CSU,” said a current football player who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. "But they could only cover it up so long and now that we have so many cases across athletics, they can’t cover it up anymore. It’s not about the health and safety of the players but about just trying to make money off the players.''

Said an athletic department staff member: "There are some red flags in the athletic department but the common denominator with this administration is to protect the coaches before the student-athletes and that makes them feel more like cattle than student-athletes.''

CSU announced July 29 that it had stopped football workouts after eight players had tested positive. Per the story, 150 athletes at the school were tested again for COVID-19 on Monday and results are expected back later in the week.

A Colorado State helmet rests on the bench during the second half of an NCAA college football game against New Mexico on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019 in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
Colorado State paused workouts in July. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

Coaches telling players not to report symptoms?

The report cites a player who said that coaches are pressuring players to not report if they are experiencing coronavirus symptoms “because we had so many guys out” and another player detailed how a player practiced while coughing because he felt pressured to be out on the field. Athletic director Joe Parker told the paper that if the claim was true, it was unacceptable and against the social distancing and reporting protocols that the school had implemented.

The football program is now run by head coach Steve Addazio. He’s in his first year with the school after he was fired from Boston College. Addazio, 61, is accused of “rarely” wearing his mask along with defensive coordinator Chuck Heater.

Four volleyball players also allegedly ate a meal together while not socially distancing or wearing masks. One of the players later tested positive for coronavirus but the school reportedly did not tell the other three to quarantine.

President launching investigation

CSU president Joyce McConnell told ESPN that she would be launching an investigation into the allegations. ESPN also said that players and staffers had reached out to it because of concerns about the way that things were being done at Colorado State.

McConnell, who told ESPN she was "shocked" by the allegations, said the school would protect anyone against retaliation. She said Colorado State would not play football in 2020 unless players feel safe.

"I assure you, if anyone has [violated our standards], we will investigate and we will find out," McConnell said.

Both Addazio and Parker said in statements that they support an investigation.

Others dispute report

The paper said the 10 staffers and players that reached out with their concerns asked to remain anonymous for fear of retribution from the school. After the report was shared on social media, other Colorado State players tweeted and said the allegations against the program’s handling of coronavirus were not true or overblown.

Multiple schools have had to stop workouts

Colorado State is one of many FBS programs who have been forced to stop workouts because of coronavirus outbreaks among the team. Rutgers has nearly 30 football players test positive and schools like Michigan State, Ohio State, Kansas, Kansas State and others have stopped workouts because of positive tests.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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