The University of Louisville announced on Thursday the dismissal of three members of the men's soccer team. The players planned an off-campus party that sparked a COVID-19 outbreak and prompted the temporary suspension of activities for men's and women's soccer, field hockey and volleyball. A total of 29 players from four teams tested positive for the coronavirus.
"I'm extremely disappointed in these young men and particularly with the three that have been dismissed," said men's soccer head coach John Michael Hayden in a statement. "They have demonstrated with their actions now and previously that they do not echo the culture of this program. Our student-athletes are held to a high standard of conduct as representatives of our program and university." Louisville Vice President and Director of Athletics Vince Tyra said in a press release that he fully supports Hayden's decision to dismiss the three players.
According to the university's statement, all three dismissed players had prior team violations. Although Louisville did not reveal what the violations were. They were also the players primarily responsible for planning the party. In addition to the three dismissals, Louisville also announced the suspension of three other players as part of the disciplinary procedures.
"Following department policies and protocols, the primary source of the positive tests, and its exposure, was traced primarily to an off-campus party," the athletic department said. "Though all student-athletes have been well-educated about the dangers of social gatherings to themselves and to others, UofL leaders have again reinforced the necessity to adhere to state, local, and Center for Disease Control (CDC) medical guidelines and procedures for the health and safety of all."
According to CNN, multiple other universities have experienced outbreaks after parties. The University of California, Berkeley, confirmed 47 coronavirus cases in one week after a series of parties. This spring of bashes led to a secondary spread at smaller gatherings and among families. Similarly, the state of Mississippi announced in June 381 additional cases and five deaths. Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs said that "quite a few" of these cases were tied to fraternity rush parties that occurred throughout the summer.
"We recently have identified a cluster of cases and outbreaks in Oxford, Mississippi," Dobbs said. He also confirmed that many people violated social distancing guidelines during the summer break. Dobbs said that the time that he was "extremely concerned" for what the fall would have in store. He added that there were efforts to prepare for a surge of cases in the fall and said that they were "quite likely."