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VANDAL FOOTBALL: Vandals meet, chat ahead of start of fall camp

by From news services
| August 5, 2020 1:15 AM

With fall camp scheduled to begin on Friday, the Idaho football team met via Zoom for a players-only meeting last week, their first as a team due to precautions taken due to COVID-19.

The team remains consistent in their messaging that the current goal is to prepare for the 2020 season.

“We gathered as a team to discuss the parameters of the fall season, as well as the safety protocols that exist in our facility and on campus,” Idaho football coach Paul Petrino said in a statement. “I really appreciated the opportunity to collaboratively discuss the dynamic and difficult decisions that are being made throughout the country on these issues. We will continue to communicate with our team and seek their feedback as we work together to get through these unprecedented times.”

Brett McMurphy of Stadium TV reported that nearly 75% of the Vandal football team was likely to opt out of the season due to safety concerns related to the pandemic.

“We stand behind our student-athletes and fully support their right to speak out,” Petrino said. “I also have shared with our players that I am available to listen and discuss options at any time if they have concerns about returning to play in the current environment. Our athletic training staff continues to do an excellent job of adapting and implementing new practices to help our student-athletes and staff re-integreate as safely as possible. Our focus has been, and remain, on keeping the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes a top priority.”

As of Monday, 125 student-athletes have been tested as part of the athletics phased return, with nine testing positive — or have tested positive after originally testing negative as part of the athletics phased return. 15 have self-quarantined following COVID-19 exposure and nine have self-isolated due to symptoms related to COVID-19.

Isolation separates sick people with a contagious disease from people who are not sick. Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick.

Idaho had its football opener against Western Oregon on Sept. 5 canceled. The Vandals are now scheduled to open the season against Temple on Sept. 12 in Philadelphia.

“We met as a team again today and I shared the current discussion about the fall season options, the safety protocols we and our campus have put in place, and the intricate process that is occuring across the country,” Idaho athletic director Terry Gawlik said in a statement. “I told them if they don’t feel comfortable, they need to tell somebody. The need to discuss with their trainers, with me, with their coach or whomever. We will take care of them. We are not going to remove anyone’s athletic aide because of their individual concerns. We just need to know.”

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Gawlik