AD Ryan Bamford: UMass athletics ‘fortunate’ to have 4 positives among 4,223 COVID tests

  • Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The football, men’s and women’s basketball, and ice hockey teams have combined for over 4,000 coronavirus tests with a total of four positives since June 22. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Sports Editor
Published: 10/23/2020 7:05:53 PM
Modified: 10/23/2020 7:05:40 PM

The results are in, and so far UMass athletic teams are passing their COVID tests.

The football, men’s and women’s basketball, and ice hockey teams have combined for more than 4,000 tests with a total of four positives.

“We’ve been very fortunate, knock on wood, in terms of health and safety,” UMass Director of Athletics Ryan Bamford said. “You know it’s one of those things that can turn very quickly, and so you just have to be steadfast and following those rules and meeting the expectations. Our student-athletes have done a fantastic job, and our coaches for that matter as well.”

The football team, which played at Georgia Southern on Saturday and doesn’t play again until Nov. 7 at Marshall, is currently in isolation, awaiting a third round of negative tests before players can return to practice.

The team was tested on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and all tests from earlier in the week were negative.

“All indications have been very positive in return,” Bamford said. “Really just want to make sure we get that third test result back and it’s good, and I fully expect that (head coach) Walt (Bell) and his group will be practicing tomorrow afternoon.”

The football program has been tested 3,018 times with three positive results since June 22. The third positive test came between Sept. 28 and Oct. 5. Details surrounding that third positive have not been made available.

That positive test was also the last one among all UMass sports.

The men’s basketball program has been tested 412 times with zero positives since Aug. 10. The women’s basketball program has zero positives among its 308 tests since Aug. 10. The hockey program had one positive out of 485 tests during the same time frame.

“It was isolated in nature so it really wasn’t a major impact,” Bamford said of the positive test.

Living and study arrangements have allowed for the teams to avoid exposure to the virus. The football team has a dorm to itself. The basketball and hockey teams each have their own floor in the North Apartments. Bamford said players live in groups of four.

All athletes are taking classes remotely, so there is very little contact with the general student population on campus.

“Anything off the court we try to limit to your three roommates if you can,” he said.

Both basketball programs started practice in small pods and are now in full team activities.

There has been no official announcement on when basketball and hockey season will start.

The Hockey East Association announced in July that it intends to play just a regular season.

Meanwhile, the men’s basketball team is linked to an event at The Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.

The casino is finalizing plans for several preseason “bubble” tournaments involving more than 30 teams, according to The Associated Press.

The casino has teamed with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Gazelle Group to hold these preseason tournaments and multi-team events between Nov. 25 and Dec. 5.

Details are expected in the next few weeks.

Mike Moran can be reached at Follow on Twitter @mikemoranDHG.

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