FORT COLLINS, Colo. — CSU football players and university athletic department staff say coaches have told players not to report COVID-19 symptoms, threatened players with reduced playing time if they quarantine and claim CSU is altering contact tracing reports to keep players practicing.
And they say those actions by the athletic administration is putting their health at risk in return for monetary gain the school would receive if fall sports are played.
Football players said they would like to play this season but don’t believe there should be a season given the spike in positive cases on the team in the past two weeks and the threat of more once Colorado State's full student body comes to campus later this month.
"I believe there is a cover-up going on at CSU,'' said a current football player who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution. "But they could only cover it up so long and now that we have so many cases across athletics, they can’t cover it up anymore. It’s not about the health and safety of the players but about just trying to make money off the players.''
At 11:07 p.m. on Tuesday night, Colorado State put out two statements on the report. They read as follows:
Director of Athletics Joe Parker
“It was troubling to read today that any student-athlete is concerned about our department’s commitment to their health and safety. As we have reiterated daily with our staff and student-athletes, their health is our top priority. We believe strongly in our policies and procedures and have instituted those at the direction and guidance our University’s Pandemic Preparedness Team, and local, state, and federal officials. The report that some football student-athletes were instructed to withhold symptoms would run counter to repeated communications we have had with our staff and student-athletes.
I fully embrace President McConnell’s investigation into this matter, and if we learn anyone on our staff has not been fully supportive of our commitment to health and safety, this is unacceptable and will be dealt with swiftly.”
Head Football Coach Steve Addazio
“We have developed a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention plan in collaboration with the University’s Pandemic Preparedness Team which includes specific, strictly enforced processes and procedures to build and maintain a culture of safety, compliance and responsibility to all members of the football program and the community.
The health and welfare of our student-athletes on the Colorado State football team is our top priority, and I fully support President McConnell’s investigation into concerns about whether these protocols were properly followed by everyone involved with our program. We want every student-athlete to have confidence that we are taking every possible measure to ensure their safety, and we will continue working with the training staff, the athletic department and the University to evaluate and implement any additional steps necessary to live up to our high standards.”
Some athletes have also denied these claims on Twitter:
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