NCAA

Maryland Terrapins announce no positive coronavirus cases after screening of student athletes

Maryland Terrapins announce no positive coronavirus cases after screening of student athletes

The University of Maryland has conducted an initial coronavirus testing of 105 student-athletes and none of which resulted in a positive result, the school announced on Friday.  

Maryland allowed fall sport athletes back on campus back on June 8. They could to begin individual, voluntary workouts on June 15. Below is a copy of the release from the athletic department. 

Maryland Athletics, as part of a gradual, phased approach to the return of student-athletes to campus, is working with the University Health Center to conduct COVID-19 testing.  Throughout this phase, we expect there will be some positive test results and have planned accordingly, through the implementation of State and county public health and university guidelines for education, contract tracing, and self-isolation.

During our initial on-campus screening of 105 student-athletes, no student-athlete tested positive for COVID-19.

Elsewhere across the country, student-athletes are testing positive at alarming rates. Houston, Kansas State and Boise State are some of the schools that had to shut down summer activities for the time being due to the prevalency in coronavirus cases.

So far, so good for Maryland as they begin to prepare for the fall season. 

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Maryland's Mike Locksley, Damon Evans comment on college football's diversity problem

Maryland's Mike Locksley, Damon Evans comment on college football's diversity problem

In a predominantly white college football landscape, Maryland became the first school in the FBS with a Black president, athletic director and head football coach Wednesday by hiring Dr. Darryll Pines to lead the university. 

Damon Evans is one of 14 Black athletic directors in the FBS, while Mike Locksley is one of 14 Black head coaches in Division I. Over 86% of D-1 head coaches are white and if you exclude Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), the percentage of white coaches in Division-I football rises to nearly 93%.

Black head coaches aren't afforded an extended window to run their program either. White coaches are considered to have more time to build a program, leaving Black head coaches with undesirable results, less time to turn things around and worse odds at getting another job because of it.

In a story from Yahoo Sports' Lila Bromberg, Evans and Locksley shared their thoughts on college football's lack of diversity and how they're striving for an increased presence of African Americans in the nation's top programs. 

RELATED: LOCKSLEY SAYS LOCKER ROOM IS A VALUABLE LESSON FOR RACE RELATIONS

“We haven't been afforded those opportunities of five years at one position to really build it and grow it the way that you need to when the jobs that some of us take or have to take open up," Locksley said. "So there's no doubt there's some things that hinder our ability to have the success we need to have to keep that door open for others.

With Evans heading the athletic department, Locksley has the job security to where he can build Maryland's football program to the best of his ability.

Just one season into his tenure, Locksley has already turned some heads on the recruiting trail. He recently secured a big-name transfer in quarterback Taulia Tagovalioa and was one of Gonzaga superstar quarterback Caleb Williams' final three schools before the upcoming senior chose Oklahoma. 

“We all know the responsibility that we carry as Black men in these leadership positions,” Evans said. “Not only the responsibility to the institution as a whole in carrying out our jobs and the responsibility to our communities, but we also have a responsibility to help to grow the pool of minority candidates and to help others rise through the ranks to be able to achieve what we've been able to.”

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Jimmy Patsos believes Howard's Makur Maker could lead a movement within college basketball

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NBC Sports Washington

Jimmy Patsos believes Howard's Makur Maker could lead a movement within college basketball

Makur Maker's decision to go to Howard University to play basketball shocked the college basketball world. It marked the potential start of a new trend: five-star recruits choosing to play at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

And for former head coach and NBC Sports Washington basketball analyst Jimmy Patsos, it could spark a huge movement within college basketball. 

"If one person can lead a revolution, one person can lead a movement, this could be the guy," Patsos said on Friday. "Why not him changing the landscape of college basketball?"

Patsos saw the abilities of Maker first-hand at Steph Curry's Select Camp. He says the 6-foot-11 player can do it all and, even before his monumental commitment to the Bison, had the tools to be a transcendent player within the sport. 

"He does everything. Like, he could shoot the ball, he could handle the ball. He reminds me of a little bigger Luol Deng, who's also from [Africa]," Patsos said referring to Maker's birth country of Kenya.

"He's not just another player. He's a 6-11 guy that does it all. He's not Magic Johnson, he's not going to play the point, but he handles the ball well."

In Patsos' eyes, Maker has a bigger upside than Chet Holgrem - the No. 3 recruit of the 2021 class according to 247sports - who has yet to commit. Holgrem is another lanky center, whose skill set is similar to the new Bison player. Many regard Holgrem as another great high school prospect in the same conversation with the Kevin Durants of the world in years past.

Not only is Patsos high on Maker, he thinks he should be a top lottery pick... for this season... and is better than his cousin, Thon Maker, who plays for the Detroit Pistons.

"Basketball-wise, I had him rated as a lottery pick this year. I would have taken him in the lottery this year myself because I think the draft is a little down anyways," Patsos said. 

On top of his on-the-court skills, Patsos is most intrigued at how Maker can become a star within the game. He's extremely personable, has high character and is outgoing. Especially being the highest-ranked recruit to play at an HBCU, that will be further amplified at Howard.

RELATED: A RECORD JUMP IN KENPOM RANKINGS BY ADDING MAKER

Of all the HBCUs, Howard is the most prestigious. It boasts an incredible position in academics and a storied law school. While the Bison may have a modest basketball program even for HBCU standards, the school is the flagship. 

"You say Howard, it's like saying Harvard," Patsos said. "I think it's a credit to the city and I think it says a lot about what Howard has done. Howard, academically, is fantastic but the rejuvenation of that area of Washington D.C., I think he had a fantastic visit. You know there is a lot going on in Washington right now, clearly. It's just a world-class city. But I'd say the most important reason was he's decided to put historically Black college on the map for basketball."

Second-year head coach Kenny Blakeney also deserves a ton of credit for navigating this recruitment of Maker. Spending time to cater to the rising college freshman, ranked No. 17 in the 2020 class, who traditionally would not even consider the school given other offers is not an easy task. 

Often, it results in wasted time and resources where another recruiting target could be elsewhere. With Kentucky, UCLA, Memphis and others trying to lure the center, it further amplified his decision. 

"You've got to give Kenny Blakeney an unbelievable amount of credit for hanging in there ... It would have been easy to say no, hung in there and showed the young man the possibilities of a fantastic time at Howard, even if it's only for a year," Patsos said. 

The ripple effects of Maker going to Howard will not be seen immediately, Sure, the Bison will be favorites in the MEAC next year and if all goes well has a really good shot at not being in a play-in game for the NCAA Tournament. But Maker will likely go pro once eligible after he plays his first season and be a one-and-done. How he plays at Howard, how he's embraced and what Maker will do at the next level is how the recruiting game could change at HBCUs.

This is something that has never happened before. While many historically Black schools have a history of NBA players (Charles Oakley, Ben Wallace, Earl Monroe), no recruits had the hype of Maker. 

"This could be revolutionary and changing the way players look at historically Black colleges, which is great," Patsos said. "Everyone knows where Howard is, who's been there, it has this fantastic reputation, as it should. But, this could change it as a landscape for kids hoping to play basketball there. And I applauded him. He answered the bell. The BLM movement is real and it's necessary."

"I can't wait to see what happens."

Coronavirus permitting, Maker will likely take his first steps on Howard's campus as a member of the program in August. Until that day, Blakeney will likely be sweating until he sees him show up for the first practice. And once Maker does, everyone will just watch and wait for how and if HBCU basketball programs will forever be changed.

"Is it a one-time thing? Or does it change everything?" Patsos said. "Everyone's going to be watching... This could be revolutionary,"

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