NCAA Pessimistic About Fall Sports As WVU Football Sees Spike In COVID-19 Cases

Posted on July 21, 2020 - Last Updated on July 23, 2020

Every week it appears that the odds of college football occurring this season are diminishing.

This past weekend, the West Virginia University athletic department announced that a total of 28 members of the football team have tested positive for COVID-19.

Unfortunately, it seems as though even WVU football can’t escape the most recent outbreak of the coronavirus. It was just about a month ago when the football program reported its second positive case.

There have now been 41 total members of the athletic department to test positive for the coronavirus since June.

The school didn’t release any information on who came up positive, or even how many players did.

This news came out right after the NCAA released new safety guidelines last Thursday. It put these protocols in place to help every conference take the best route to return to play this fall.

Some of the guidelines include:

  • Implementing coronavirus testing strategies
  • Testing and results should be processed within 72 hours of games for high-contact sports
  • All student-athletes should conduct daily self-health checks
  • Physical distancing when possible
  • Universal masks on all sidelines
  • Outdoor training encouraged when possible
  • Time-based strategies for returning after positive tests, following CDC recommendations

The NCAA is hopeful that these health measures will allow college teams to compete this fall.

West Virginia sportsbooks are also hoping college football and other sports get underway later this summer. Without a normal slate of sports in rotation, betting revenue hasn’t been strong lately.

Along with winter sports finishing their seasons, the return of the NFL and college football betting will be massive for books.

A lot of college programs need a revenue boost, as well. With spring sports being cut short in March, schools need football revenue more than ever.

WVU football struggles with COVID-19

It seemed like WVU might escape the problems many other college football teams faced once they reopened preseason practice.

Since the Mountain State has continued to remain one of the safest in the country in terms of the coronavirus, it appeared as though WVU might, too.

That came to halt this Saturday when the athletic department brought the total up to 28. This is a combination of football players and staff members.

WVU athletics has now seen 41 positive cases out of the 518 tests administered since the beginning of summer.

Everyone who tested positive, along with those who are being identified through contact tracing, entered self-isolation.

This is a bad sign for football in Morgantown and the Big 12 Conference. Even with all these sports programs trying to limit the spread of COVID-19, players are testing positive everywhere.

Certain conferences like the Big Ten and Pacific-12 have already decided to shorten their regular seasons. Both will just play conference-only schedules this upcoming year in football.

The Big 12 could be headed toward that decision, especially with this latest news out of WV. The Big Ten’s move actually had a direct impact on the Mountaineers’ schedule. They will no longer face Maryland at home on Sept. 19.

If all goes according to plan, WVU starts its 2020 season against Florida State on Sept. 5, from a neutral site.

NCAA worried about fall sports

The NCAA initially released two separate sets of guidelines in May for how college sports could resume. Unfortunately, those were created with the thinking that the pandemic would be on a decline at this time.

With the opposite being true for the majority of the US, the NCAA is anxious about the upcoming fall.

NCAA President Mark Emmert discussed why they chose to release a new set of standards. He said:

“When we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel last spring’s championships it was because there was simply no way to conduct them safely. This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable.

“Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”

If schools are having a difficult time avoiding positive tests now, it might only get worse as the season approaches. Right now, college campuses are mostly empty and of course, students aren’t required to attend any classes.

If and when students can return to their schools this fall, the chances of more positive COVID-19 tests will increase.

Student-athletes will need to be diligent in their efforts to stay healthy in order to compete this fall.

It would be helpful if some of these states where there are outbreaks can contain things, too. Many across the South are recording more positive tests now than they did back in April.

The Big 12 and the SEC occupy many of the southern areas of the country.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey is concerned about how football will happen in the fall. According to AL.com, he said:

“The fact that we have seen an increase of cases in the last few weeks across our region is not a positive indicator.”

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College Football Odds At WV Sportsbooks

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the season, online sports betting apps available in the state have you covered. They include:

All three mobile platforms feature odds on which team will win the National Championship next year.

Once every conference’s schedules are confirmed, sportsbooks will roll out additional markets for individual games and futures.

At the moment, here are WVU’s odds to win this year’s title according to all three online sportsbooks:

DraftKings

  • WVU +15000

FanDuel

  • WVU +25000

BetMGM

  • WVU +20000
Chris Imperiale Avatar
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Chris Imperiale

Chris Imperiale covers sports betting and the online casino industries. He has a journalism degree from Rutgers University and was formerly on staff at Bleacher Report.

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