PONTIFICATING FROM THE SUNSHINE STATE – SEPTEMBER 26
By Leo Haggerty
SOUTH BEND SCANDAL
In case you haven’t heard, the South Florida contest in Boca Raton against Florida Atlantic, that should be happening today, had to be cancelled. This was due to the coronavirus outback at Notre Dame who just happened to be the Bulls opponent last Saturday in South Bend. As of now, the tilt has not been rescheduled.
To err on the side of caution, USF immediately suspending activities on Wednesday. Instead of practicing, the Green & Gold commenced another round of testing that morning for all football personnel.
Here’s the irony of this situation. On Tuesday, I directly asked HC Jeff Scott the following question which became extremely relevant the next day.
LH : Did it ever get close to a point where Covid forced you cancel a game because you didn’t have, let’s say, enough offensive linemen who could dress?
JS : We have not gotten to that point yet. It did get to a point where the guys that just got here had to go in the game. True freshmen but we have not, knock on wood, been to a point where we had too many positive results at one position. It’s been a lot of key guys that meant you had to have a lot of younger guys, walk-ons, that just showed up play so that gave you a little bit of depth.
Little did anyone realize haw relevant that inquiry as well as the answer would become. Knowing that, I asked the USF Communications Department the following questions. To their credit, they immediately provided me with the following answers.
LH : When was the last time players before Saturday’s kickoff at South Bend were tested?
Both teams were tested on Friday, per both AAC and ACC conference protocols. Both tested by independent agencies. USF were tested twice. Tested once before leaving for South Bend, and tested again when we arrived by the outside agency the ACC contracted to test both teams on Friday.
LH : When did they get the results back?
Conference protocols state that they would have had results back prior to Saturday’s game.
LH : Do schools need to start game day testing that will give them results before kickoff to avoid this in the figure.
Conference protocols are put in place by agreement of the schools and with the direction of the best medical professionals available.
So, what have we learned? It looks like USF, as the visiting team, had to test before they left as well as when they arrived. That doesn’t look like that’s the case for the home squad.
Now, the following two questions begs to be asked of Notre Dame officials. First, were the results of the Friday tests available to the Irish administration before kickoff? Two, did Notre Dame “delay” releasing the results of their players testing positive so they could compete against USF?
Obviously, we will never get a straight answer to any of the above queries. A more immediate problem is that we are finding out that way too many collegiate football programs are not even releasing their numbers.
With that being said, the NCAA needs to mandate that ALL member institutions release Covid numbers within 12 hours of discovery. That’s the ONLY way that teams can have the confidence that they are playing on an even playing field.