Troy University Athletic Director Brent Jones and Head Football Coach Chip Lindsey said there are several confirmed cases of COVID-19 within Troy Athletics during a virtual press conference Thursday morning.
Jones stated the difficulty in determining a specific number of cases due to the rapidly changing situation, but he confirmed both staff and players had contracted the virus, but said they were asymptomatic.
On June 1, Troy Football welcomed its scholarship athletes back to campus and conducted COVID-19 tests on all players and anyone in contact with those players in compliance with NCAA guidelines. The players and staff that tested positive were symptom free and were not aware they had contracted the virus. Those infected were promptly quarantined, and Jones stated that many have fully recovered and have returned to work and practice.
Jones said Troy Athletics is committed to the health and safety of its players and staff and will continue to perform tests, especially if symptoms are shown.
Jones also explained how Troy Athletics has accommodated players and staff while also maintaining social distancing. Players will have limited interaction with staff and fellow players with workout groups being limited to 15 players per session. He said the weight room and the equipment there is sanitized and left for 15 minutes before a new group of players may enter.
There are also “protocols when people can enter buildings” to limit foot traffic and maintain social distancing.
Troy will welcome the rest of its fall sports teams and the full football roster on July 6, as approved by the NCAA. Much like the return of the football scholarship athletes, there will be a one-week period where testing will take place and workouts will not be held.
“Every single day I am more optimistic about the return of football,” Jones said. Despite the challenges, Jones explained how Troy is gearing up for the return of fans to Veterans Memorial Stadium. “Currently we are at 100 percent capacity.
“Over the last two weeks, we have sold over 1,000 season tickets.”
Jones assured that season ticket holders were guaranteed a seat inside the Vet for the upcoming season. He said Troy Athletics has been in contact with other schools, officials and conferences to find the best way to safely accommodate fans.
“We are working with several models,” Jones said.
The gates to the Vet are most likely to open earlier this season to allow people to come and go with less contact. Along with social distancing and reserved seating, grab-and-go or pre-wrapped food options may be available this fall.
During the virtual news conference Thursday, Jones also addressed Troy Athletics’ stance on social injustice. He said he and the staff have been working with faculty, students, and student athletes to create a plan for change.
“Hopefully in the next 30 days we will have a plan for Troy University and Troy Athletics to be part of the solution,” Jones said.
Chip Lindsey concluded the press conference with his excitement to see student athletes return to campus and his enthusiasm to begin football once again. Lindsey said many players have stepped up as leaders during this uncertain time, listing Terrance Dunlap and Dylan Bradshaw along with several others.
“There’s a lot of positive stuff going on, and I’m really excited for the future,” Lindsey said.
As Troy University awaits the return of student athletes on July 6, Troy Football will continue preparation for a September 5 season opener as the Trojans play host to Arkansas-Pine Bluff.