The ability of colleges and universities to contain the coronavirus during the school year will depend in part on its ability to control the behavior of their students in social settings.
That is to say, it will be very difficult.
Just how difficult became apparent when a party at an off-campus housing complex led to 29 COVID-19 cases within four teams at the University of
Louisville, forcing the ACC school to temporarily shut down voluntary workouts and preseason practice for men's and women's soccer, women's volleyball and field hockey.
seriousness of the incident became apparent when Louisville dismissed three players on the men's soccer team and suspended three others. In a statement released by the athletic department, it
stated the three players who were dismissed had prior team violations and were primarily responsible for organizing a party.
"I'm extremely disappointed in these young men and
particularly with the three that have been dismissed," second-year Louisville head coach John Michael Hayden
said. "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 athletic director Vince
said routine testing on Monday revealed eight athletes had tested positive. Contact tracing quickly confirmed the source of the outbreak. He said it was obvious then there would be many
Nor were they the first at the school. Last week, Tyra said 13 students and staff members tested positive during the two months when athletes were allowed back on camp for
summer workouts. The men’s basketball team and men’s and women’s swimming teams temporarily suspended voluntary activities in July after members of their teams tested positive.
Tyra said he was very disappointed and frustrated by what happened, considering the athletic department had discussed with Cardinal athletes what was happening with parties at other schools.
The number of athletes infected could climb higher than 29. (It is not known how many positive cases of non-athletes at the party have been confirmed.)
Tyra added that it was an apologetic and
somber group, but he didn't rule out disciplinary measures for an entire team if another incident took place.
"It is clear that these student-athletes did not meet the code of conduct of
the university or their team," Tyra said in supporting Hayden's decision. "Ignoring the safety protocols issued by federal, state and local officials, as well as the athletic department, is
unacceptable and dangerous. Their history of actions are not in alignment with the values of this university and athletics department."