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North Carolina hits pause button on football workouts after outbreak of positive COVID-19 tests

We can officially add North Carolina to the growing list of football programs hitting the workout pause button.

Last month, North Carolina began a phased return of student-athletes, including football players, to campus for voluntary workouts. Wednesday, the university announced that all workouts have been temporarily halted. The decision came after 37 COVID-19 positives came back after 429 student-athletes, coaches and staffers connected to the sports that returned were tested. The Orange County Health Department determined the situation at UNC to be a cluster, which triggered the pause.

The breakdown for individual sports -- football, men’s and women’s basketball -- was not given.

From the school‘s release:

Student-athletes who test positive for COVID-19 are required to isolate for up to 14 days in a campus residence hall specified by the University or at their permanent residence. Coaches and staff members will isolate at home up to 14 days as well. Those identified as close contacts, using the CDC definition for contact tracing, also will self-quarantine for 14 days. These close contacts will be provided instructions regarding quarantine and self-monitoring for potential symptoms and may be tested if they become symptomatic. All students-athletes are monitored closely by Campus Health Sports Medicine.

North Carolina football is the latest but certainly not the first impacted by the pandemic. Or the last, more than likely.

Just today, Ohio State announced it was putting a temporary halt to voluntary workouts because of the results of recent COVID-19 testing among its student-athletes. July 3, Kansas was the latest FBS program to pause voluntary workouts after 12 players tested positive for COVID-19. Earlier in that same week, Arizona announced that it was pausing its phased return of student-athletes to campus. Prior to that, eight individuals connected to the Boise State football program tested positive, forcing the school to temporarily scuttle workouts. June 20, K-State announced that it is pausing all voluntary workouts as well. The reason? “[A] total of 14 student-athletes have tested positive for active COVID-19 following PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing of more than 130 student-athletes.” The weekend before that, Houston decided to put a halt to voluntary on-campus workouts after six symptomatic UH student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

Other programs have seen a high number of players test positive but continue workouts. Among those are Clemson (37 players tested positive), LSU (30 players quarantined), Texas (13 confirmed positives for football players) and Texas Tech (23 positives for players/staffers).