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Baylor Basketball

Mack Rhoades' gives gut feeling on 2020 season, expounds on Baylor's COVID-19 testing

June 24, 2020
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On Monday Baylor Athletics released their weekly report of both positive and negative COVID-19 tests that have been conducted since student athletes began their return to campus last week. After reporting that three of 59 tests were positive on June 16th, a week later the total had grown to eight  with a total of 109 tests conducted.

Four of the athletes who tested positive for the virus were showing mild symptoms while the other four were asymptomatic. 

In his weekly segment with SicEm365 Radio, Baylor Vice President and Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades said his staff feels blessed that the number has remained relatively low. 

© Kevin Jairaj-USAToday
Baylor has tested 109 student athletes with eight positives so far. Pictured: Mack Rhoades

“I think overall we felt fortunate, felt blessed, to test 109 total so far, right, and to only have eight positives—four symptomatic, four asymptomatic,” Rhoades said. “Again, felt fortunate. We are extremely grateful that the four symptomatic are mild.

A large concern for any athletes who test positive for the virus is the number of people who they have made contact with, including other players who are returning to campus at similar times. Some programs around the country including Big 12 program Kansas State, have shut down voluntary workouts because of the high exposure after double-digit positive tests to athletes.

Baylor isn’t in danger of needing to end voluntary workouts currently, but Rhoades acknowledged they must continue to take proper steps to prevent that from happening. 

“When you start doing the contract tracing, the primary contacts, even thought we don’t release those numbers, those are relatively low,” Rhoades said. “We’re not in a position or a place where we’re having to shut down anything or adjust anything to date.

“As we all know, this could change very, very quickly, but so far we’ve been really, really blessed.”

With 109 test results back in hand as of Monday, Baylor is now focused on the next moves as they look to bring back the remaining student athletes who participate in fall sports at the beginning of July. 

“But, you know, I still—maybe I’m just not very smart, but I’m still optimistic that we’ll play and that we’ll do it in a really safe manner and a very, very healthy manner, and where our student athletes feel comfortable about it.”
- Baylor AD Mack Rhoades

“Now next steps for us is for our infectious disease response team, right?” Rhoades said. “They’re meeting today just reviewing and making sure everybody felt comfortable with how we onboarded the previous groups of student athletes and then do we move forward with the fall sports.”

For now, dates for return are tentatively set.

“As mentioned before we have targeted right after for Fourth of July, July 6th, for our soccer and volleyball teams, and then July 7th for cross country, men’s basketball and then July 13th for women’s basketball.”

According to Rhoades, the plan being executed has gone well so far, but it takes only a small break in a single link of the chain for it to all come crashing down.

“The first time somebody doesn’t wear a mask or the first time somebody doesn’t wash their hands, or the first time somebody says hey, you know what, I’m not going to go quarantined for 48 hours, I’m going to go play cards over at this house with 20 people, that’s where we get into trouble and we falter,” Rhoades said. 

“It has, it’s been a dose of reality. It’s probably made us less optimistic about, you know, completing an entire season without any interruptions because now it’s right here in front of us and you’re dealing with it, right?

“But, you know, I still—maybe I’m just not very smart, but I’m still optimistic that we’ll play and that we’ll do it in a really safe manner and a very, very healthy manner, and where our student athletes feel comfortable about it.”

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Mack Rhoades' gives gut feeling on 2020 season, expounds on Baylor's COVID-19 testing

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