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UH sports teams temporarily suspend training after four football players test positive for COVID-19

  • COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII ATHLETICS
                                The University of Hawaii football team took part in a recent practice session.

    COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII ATHLETICS

    The University of Hawaii football team took part in a recent practice session.

  • COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII ATHLETICS
                                The Hawaii football team practiced at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus on Tuesday.

    COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII ATHLETICS

    The Hawaii football team practiced at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus on Tuesday.

Five University of Hawaii sports teams have temporarily suspended their training activities after four football players tested positive for the coronavirus, school officials announced.

The pause affects football, men’s and women’s basketball, soccer and women’s volleyball.

The number of positive results might increase after all the tests are processed. As part of the NCAA’s return-to-play program, teams that are expected to play this fall are tested once a week during this training period. UH tested 140 student-athletes on Tuesday.

The football team had already started their fifth practice — the first in full pads this training camp — when they were notified of the positive results.

UH reported the players are asymptomatic, in isolation, and “being cared for by the university.” UH officials said the state Department of Health has been notified.

UH officials did not indicate a timeline for resuming team activities. They said the “impacted” areas are closed and will be cleaned and disinfected.

“The pause covers all student-athletes who are currently coming to campus and the employees who may have come into contact with them,” the school wrote in the announcement.

The Warriors resumed football workouts last Friday when the Mountain West Conference, of which UH is a football-only member, announced it would launch its season on Oct. 24. The league initially postponed the season on Aug. 10 because of the unavailability of affordable rapid testing and the possible long-term effects of the coronavirus. But the league reached a partnership with Quest Diagnostics, which will cover the thrice-weekly, rapid-antigen tests during the season. The MWC will use money from a reserve fund to pay for the tests for the 12 football-playing members.

The schedule has yet to be released, although the wish is the 12 MWC teams each play eight league games over an eight-week period. The championship game — pairing either the division winners or the two teams with the highest winning percentage — is planned for Dec. 19. There is a possibility of an unbalanced football schedule. Air Force is committed to playing nonconference games against Navy and Army. Boise State would like to retain its game against independent Brigham Young. There also is a possibility of cancellations if there is an outbreak.

UH’s basketball, volleyball and soccer teams compete in the Big West Conference. The UH basketball teams are in the acclimation phase, during which they are allowed 12 hours of organized workouts and meetings each week. The workout limit expands to 20 hours per week beginning Oct. 14 in advance of the NCAA’s start date of Nov. 25. During basketball training, every player and coach wears a mask. Coaches also wear gloves. There are no 5-on-5 drills.

The soccer and women’s volleyball teams also have been permitted to participate in strength/conditioning drills. The soccer and women’s volleyball seasons have been moved from the fall to the spring semester.

During fall training, UH student-athletes have not used the school’s locker rooms. The football team has conducted meetings and practices in the morning, after which the players return to their residences to shower and then attend online classes. The Warriors have adhered to social distancing protocol during meetings.

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For more Hawaii football, visit the Warrior Beat blog.

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