The University of Buffalo is dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak as 25 athletes have tested positive for the virus. It has led to the school pausing all activities for three sports — football, volleyball and women's soccer. According to the Buffalo News, the school didn't specify if any of the athletes who tested positive were asymptomatic. Still, athletic director Mark Alnutt said the athletes are "being cared for and doing well."
The football team is one of 110 Football Bowl Subdivision athletic programs with positive COVID-19 tests reported. Since June 12, Buffalo has had 32 athletes, and three staff members contract the coronavirus. More than 1,300 tests have been done in the athletic department from June 12 to Sept. 20. As for the entire school, there are 81 cases on campus and 31 cases off-campus as of Monday.
"With the rigorous health protocols we have in place, and with the dedicated commitment of our student-athletes and athletics staff, we will continue to protect our student-athletes, the UB campus community and the community at large," Alnutt said in the statement. The football team plays in the Mid-American Conference (MAC), and the league recently announced it will play football starting Nov. 4. Each will play a six-game conference-only schedule with a championship game on Dec. 18 or Dec. 19.
"I am pleased to inform our student-athletes, coaches, and fans, that the Mid-American Conference will resume the fall football season," MAC commissioner Jon Steinbrecher said in a statement as reported by ESPN. "Our decisions, in August and again today, have been guided by an overriding concern for the well-being of the student-athletes, institutions, and the community at large."
The MAC was the first FBS conference to postpone football due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It now joins the Big Ten, Pac-12 and Mountian West as conferences wait and bring back football. "You have to harp on your other teammates about how important it is to wear a mask in the facilities or when you're out, just so you won't put others at risk," Buffalo running back Jaret Patterson said in a video conference last week. "It's really more important than ever (now) that we've got the green light to go, for our leaders on this team to really start cracking down on guys and keep giving them reminders."