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UT notebook: football matches are still in the works

AUSTIN – Even as Texas is moving towards another possible state shutdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UT is still plotting a course for fall football.

On Monday, three days after Governor Greg Abbott ordered shutting down bars and restaurants to cut capacity by up to 50 percent, the university released information about its fall 2020 reopen plans. And it looks like Texas is still working on a viable plan for a football season that is more difficult to imagine as hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 increase.

“The university will develop policies and procedures for hosting football matches and other athletic events this fall in accordance with national, local and Big 12 Conference health and safety guidelines,” said interim university president Jay Hartzell in a letter to the UT community. “The UT expects to limit the scenarios in the first week of August.”

Soccer players returned June to the Forty Acres in stages. And while the strategy of leaving players back for several weeks of voluntary training was developed by the University, City of Austin, Big 12 and Dell School of Medicine, all those involved in the planning phase understood that there would be some players who tested positive for COVID -19.

By June 29, 13 players had returned positive tests and 10 more were asked to quarantine themselves after coming into close contact with an infected teammate or acquaintance.

“We had fully expected to have some cases of COVID-19, and fortunately most student athletes experience mild or no symptoms, none of which require hospitalization,” said Chris Del Conte, Texas athletics director. “We are currently implementing our plan to treat, isolate and quarantine infected or contact persons. Based on everything we know, the student athletes do not contract the virus during their voluntary training.

“However, as it appears to be happening outside of this activity, it is critical that we continue to strengthen all guidelines and best practices for the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 that we have identified.”

The university’s “Return to Campus” task force has made no major changes to its plan to have men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball players undergo an entry-level program from July 5 to 12 before they begin July 13 training sessions.

However, a community-like spread among soccer players who in turn could move through coaching staff and the athletics department as a whole could force Del Conte and his lieutenants to change those plans. And a new wave of home ordering can make the return of college sports even more complicated, although Abbott has not yet issued a national directive and local government officials are still unable to introduce more restrictions.

“We also implement policies and procedures to return essential coaches, athletic staff, and all student athletes to campus in the fall for training / competition according to CDC guidelines, state and local officials, and on-campus athletics and medical personnel , “said Hartzell.

Herman, Abbott partner for PSA

Texas coach Tom Herman teamed up with Governor Greg Abbott to make a public announcement about COVID-19.

In the video, published Monday on Abbott’s official YouTube channel, Herman Texans begs to keep wearing masks, take social distance and take precautions to prevent the spread of a virus, as the number of confirmed cases is 153,000 exceeded.

“Right now we need a team effort to stop COVID-19,” said Herman. “We all have a responsibility to protect our health and the health of our loved ones. Wash your hands, practice social distance, wear a mask, of course, and stay at home if you can. Together we defeat COVID-19. ”

Herman and his wife, Michelle Herman, have been active volunteers since the March pandemic and showed up to assist nonprofits like the Austin Boys & Girls Club, Central Texas Food Bank and Front Steps Homeless Shelter.

“I think you realize how much certain demographic and population groups are needed,” Herman said in April. “Michelle and I were very specific in targeting the places we were going to donate to, one, because of my history with some of those issues, including hers. And two, we really wanted to bring something out on the front line. ‘

Junior CB Cook in transfer portal

It appears that junior cornerback Anthony Cook is planning to switch from Texas after all.

While he appeared to be making a flip-flop on the matter earlier this month, tweeted and quickly removed a post about not playing “another snap” for Texas, the Houston Lamar All-American has officially entered his name into the NCAA- transfer portal.

Over two seasons with Texas, Cook played in 25 games with seven starts, registering 42 tackles, two losses for loss and one sack. And after making six starts in 2019, he was expected to challenge for a key role in the defense of new coordinator Chris Ash.

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