USA Today Sports’ Paul Myerberg and Dan Wolken explain why postponing the college football season to the spring is not as easy as it sounds.
Florida State wide receiver Warren Thompson has put the football program’s handling of COVID-19 under a microscope with a social media post on Twitter.
Thompson, a sophomore from Seffner, Florida, alleged Thursday that he has been “lied to multiple times” about player health during the first week of camp.
“Being a Student Athlete is difficult during this time and the proper leadership regarding these problems does not exist. During this entire week of camp I have been lied to multiple times about the conditions of other players health as well as mine. It has been shown to myself and the rest, that our leadership is based off an “I” mentality with them only worried about their own future rather than their own athletes.
“I have been ridiculed about speaking up regarding this issue and it needs to be addressed for myself to safely continue the season. I myself am an introvert meaning my days go from being at the football facilities and back home day by day.
“I have done my best to take the proper precautions for myself and my teammates, to try and ensure a healthy environment during these radical times. I want to play for Florida State University and have a great season for myself and our supporters. The lies from our leaders have backed myself into corner putting my overall well being in jeopardy.
“The neglect to respond to this issue is very concerning and why I’ve drown attention to it. I’ve put 1000% into this team and my own craft. I’ve got to much to prove to the world and this problem is growing greater potentially preventing that from happening because I’ve spoken up! – WarrenJ.”
The message game after wide receiver D.J. Matthews posted to Twitter Wednesday night that he has tested positive for COVID-19. He later deleted the tweet.
Florida State coach Mike Norvell spoke Thursday about how the team is handling player safety.
“We’re very open in all aspects. So as a team, we will have an open discussion (Thursday) much like we had an open discussion (Tuesday) and once again (Wednesday) after practice. Just about player well-being…” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said.
“We’re all in this to help and benefit and grow each other. It is our job to make sure we provide an open and transparent protocol and policies for how we’re going to operate within COVID, and I absolutely feel confident in how we’ve done that.”
Norvell said he had talked to Thompson, Matthews and wide receiver Tamorrion Terry each individually Wednesday night. He wouldn’t divulge who each conversation was with, but he said one conversation was about a positive COVID-19 test. He said another conversation was about how contact tracing would work and the third was about a concern the player had.
Before Thursday morning’s social media posts, there had been no widespread concerns shared by members of the Florida State roster. The two Seminoles players interviewed after Thursday’s practice adamantly defended the school’s staff.
“I honestly feel like the FSU coaching staff and training staff, I feel like they are both doing everything in their power to make sure that we are safe and to make sure we are doing the things necessary in order to play football this year,” sophomore defensive back Jaiden Lars-Woodbey said.
“I’m really thankful for the coaching staff that we have and the athletic training staff. I think they have done a phenomenal job with regards to making sure everybody is following the protocol.”
This is part of why Norvell was especially surprised by Thompson’s statement. He said he doesn’t know what lies or deception Thompson was referring to in his statement.
“Those are conversations that, obviously like I said, disappointed to what I’ve heard that was said, but at the end of the day there will be follow-up conversations to get a better understanding,” Norvell said.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis held a roundtable with Florida State President John Thrasher, athletic director David Coburn, Norvell and players Keyshawn Helton and Josh Kaindoh Tuesday to present a united front that they collectively believe that playing and preparing for the 2020 college football season is the safest environment for the players.
Florida State has not disclosed the number of positive tests due to the HIPPA laws beyond saying that one player has tested positive in the past.
Coburn stated that every player has their temperature and symptoms checked before they are allowed in the facilities every morning. They are also required to answer questions.
Once they’re allowed in, they are required to wear a band around their wrist showing that they have been checked and are separated from the rest of the athletic department staff. Everyone is required to wear masks in the building, and to and from practice. The players practice social distancing during their team and position meetings.
The players are being tested weekly for the coronavirus, but that is expected to become bi-weekly testing during the season.