Liberty coach Hugh Freeze’s comments about the school’s coronavirus testing protocols immediately raised red flags at Syracuse.
Syracuse is a member of the ACC, a conference that’s still planning to play football this fall. ACC teams are, as of now, allowed one non-conference game. Liberty is the scheduled non-conference opponent for three ACC teams: Syracuse, NC State and Virginia Tech.
Friday, Freeze complimented the recent lack of positive tests in the Liberty football program while subsequently noting that the school hasn’t felt the need to test players over the past two weeks because no one has shown any symptoms.
Liberty football coach Hugh Freeze said the program hasn't had a positive test in three weeks.
The screenings in the past two weeks haven't necessitated any tests because players are not showing symptoms.
— Damien Sordelett (@DamienSordelett) August 14, 2020
Five months into this pandemic, we should all know that you don’t have to be symptomatic to have COVID-19. But that commonly known fact has apparently not made its way to the Liberty football program. And Syracuse would like it to get there as soon as possible.
Saturday, Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack called Liberty’s testing approach “inadequate” and said that his comments were “deeply troubling.
“Coach Freeze’s comments describing Liberty’s inadequate approach to COVID-19 testing are deeply troubling, and pose a threat to the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” Wildhack said. “The ACC has very clear testing protocols in place that all scheduled non-conference opponents must adhere to. Syracuse Athletics refuses to put the members of our football program or our campus community in a position that could potentially compromise the rigorous public health and safety strategy we have put into place.
“We will continue our weekly testing and move to testing three times a week once our competitive season commences.”
The ACC has previously said that all schools playing non-conference games against ACC teams must have testing protocols that are in line with the ACC’s own testing guidelines. Liberty plays football as an independent.
Syracuse players have been concerned about coronavirus
Syracuse players have made their voices heard to school officials about the coronavirus.
Players sat out practice earlier in the week in what Wildhack said was a “miscommunication” about testing protocols and the players’ desire for more frequent testing in the leadup to the season. And Syracuse.com noted a week ago that players were hesitant about testing protocols for their opponents, namely Liberty.
If the 2020 college football season happens in some form — the ACC is one of just six FBS conferences going ahead with the season as of now — Liberty has some time to get its protocols in order before the Syracuse game. Syracuse starts its season on Sept. 12 and doesn’t play Liberty until Oct. 17.
Liberty has just eight games on its schedule because of other conferences’ football postponements. Games against Bowling Green, UConn, UMass and North Carolina A&T have already been canceled.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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