Colorado State University president Joyce McConnell announced Tuesday that the school would launch an investigation into its athletic department after leaders reportedly threatened players to disregard coronavirus safety protocols. 

With the college football season still up in the air, programs across the country are facing major challenges in trying to limit the spread of COVID-19 within their teams while still getting in the preparation needed for the 2020 campaign. According to ESPN's Myron Medcalf, Colorado State has used troubling methods to ensure players don't miss time at practice. 

Athletic department leaders are reportedly discouraging athletes from being tested for the virus, disregarding guidelines to quarantine athletes who might have been exposed and are not providing accurate information to health officials.

Some players alleged that coaches instructed them to hide symptoms because their playing time would be affected by an extended absence due to COVID-19. According to Medcalf's story, a player with a severe cough who eventually tested positive continued to work out as usual. Another player who tested positive was reportedly scared to mention anything to the team's medical staff. 


During a virtual team meeting after Colorado State paused all football activities due to eight players testing positive for COVID-19, Addazio reportedly planned to return to practice before the CDC-recommended 14-day quarantine period had ended. 


"I can confirm he said that 'although the CDC recommends 14 days, we're going to try to come back early,'" an unnamed source told Medcalf.

In response to these allegations, head coach Steve Addazio and athletic director Joe Parker both released statements in support of the investigation and declared the importance of keeping their players safe and healthy. 

While multiple players and staffers revealed the actions of Colorado State's coaching staff to be deeply troubling, some players denied those events altogether. 

Junior tight end Trey McBride and freshman offensive lineman Owen Snively were among those to defend their coaches safety plan, both saying the players' health was the staff's "top" or "main" priority. 

President McConnell told Medcalf that Colorado State would not play football in 2020 unless players felt safe and that the school would protect anyone against retaliation. 

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