OXFORD • Ole Miss officials are disputing a Daily Journal report of additional positive COVID-19 cases among Rebels football players.
Sources told the Journal that multiple players contracted the virus in what could possibly be traced back to a social gathering.
Shannon Singletary, the associate AD for health and sports performance who chaired the safety committee before athletes returned to campus, says the report is incorrect.
A school spokesman confirmed Sunday afternoon that nine players have been placed in quarantine due to a close contact.
Players returned to campus on June 1 to begin COVID-19 testing and education. Voluntary strength and conditioning workouts began on June 8.
In the initial test one player and one athletics department employee were found to be positive. The university on Friday released one additional positive test finding.
“I don’t know if this is all originating from the same source. What I’m saying is that nobody has confirmed this with us, and what we are reading today is not accurate,” Singletary said.
Singletary said he is awaiting results of additional tests.
“Yes we are, however, that could be relating to physicals for incoming athletes or people who are not on campus, not necessarily student-athletes,” he said.
Later Sunday, around 5 p.m., through its internal email alert system the university confirmed two new cases, one student-athlete and one athletics employee.
As of Sunday morning, players’ parents had not been notified by school officials of any positive test results, sources said.
“What we are doing is managing our protocols in which we identify positive athletes then identify close contacts,” he said. “Those athletes are self-monitoring. If they being to show symptoms we take the necessary steps.”
Safe return protocols put in place before the start of voluntary strength and conditioning workouts call for infected players to be placed in quarantine at one of a number of university-owned properties set aside for this purpose.
The two people who initially tested positive showed no outward symptoms at the time and have been recovering in isolation with no complications, Ole Miss athletics director Keith Carter told the Journal last week.
A third person, a player, showed signs for COVID-19 before the arrival date for testing and did not report.
Positive COVID-19 results have been reported within a number of SEC football programs since the beginning of workouts.
Sticking to plan
The return of players to campuses and the NCAA’s work on extending the number of days that football coaches and can work with players have seen as signs that administrators and conference officials are working to begin the college football season at its regularly scheduled time.
However, no official plan has been announced.
Ole Miss remains scheduled to open the regular season Sept. 5 against Baylor at NRG Stadium in Houston.