COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WDVM) – The University of Maryland’s football game against Michigan State, scheduled for this Saturday, has been canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the team, according to an announcement from the school on Thursday.
Head Coach Michael Locksley had tested positive for the virus on Wednesday, as well as fifteen players and six other staff members in the past seven days. Coach Locksley is currently isolating at home.
“I am gutted for our team and for our fans,” said Locksley in a statement from the school. “This team is eager to play and compete and continue the growth we’ve seen this season. This virus is testing our players and coaches right now, but I have no doubt that we will emerge as a stronger unit for having gone through this together. As for me personally, I am feeling strong, with only minor symptoms. I will continue to lead this program virtually and our game preparations for Indiana will begin immediately.”
Maryland has also canceled their game against Ohio State, after eight players had tested positive for the coronavirus. In a two week span, the Maryland football team has had 23 positive cases.
The Terps have not been able to practice since Wednesday, November 11th. The players were moved into a hotel that day and stayed till Sunday, but since then the team has not been able to return to practice.
Per team’s announcement, in past 7 days, 15 student-athletes and 7 staff members tested positive for COVID for a team population positivity rate of 14.9 percent. Under Big Ten protocols, team must stop all activities for a minimum of 7 days when population positive rate is greater than 7.5 percent.
College Park is located in Prince George’s County, which has had the most coronavirus cases of any county in the state.
“I want to remind everyone that this is not a football spread virus or sports spread virus, this is a community spread virus and so it is within our community,” head team physician Dr. Yvette Rooks said. “And Prince George’s County’s positivity rate is 8.5 as of November 17, it is on the rise. Our student athletes are citizens of Prince George’s County.”
Rooks added that Maryland is day-to-day going forward in terms of a return to play and hopes that some student athletes could possibly have an person exercising this weekend.
“Our goal is to get back, I want to be clear with that,” director of athletics Damon Evans said. “But we want to get back in the safest possible manner and make sure that we’re looking out for the health, the safety and the wellness of the student athletes.”
Rooks said the spread on the team is from three sources but would not reveal names to protect privacy.