Iowa Football Puts Pause on Practices Nine Days Before Bowl Game
The University of Iowa announced Monday evening that they're stopping all in-person activities within the football program for a minimum of five days following an increase in COVID-19 positive tests. The pause in workouts for the Hawkeyes brings up a big question. Will Iowa be able to play in the Music City Bowl against Missouri? That game is scheduled for Wednesday, December 30. Just nine days from now. And if they're able to play, just how prepared will they be?
Last Monday, the University of Iowa Athletics Department announced that over the previous week there had been one positive test and 695 negative tests. This morning, the University announced that over the last week, ending yesterday, there were 14 positive tests and 429 negative ones. We know one of those positives was Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz who tested positive last Thursday. Ferentz was asked during a Zoom press conference Sunday afternoon if there had been other positive cases in the program, and he wouldn't talk about specifics.
The Gazette reported Monday night that sources tell them six Iowa coaches and multiple players have tested positive for the virus. However, Iowa still hopes to play.
In the Monday evening press release announcing the pause in all in-person activities affiliated with the football program, Director of Athletics Gary Barta shared,
Our student-athletes returned to testing today and based on additional positive tests and contact tracing, our medical team has made the decision to pause in-person activities for a minimum of five days. We will continue to follow Big Ten Conference medical protocol and participate in daily rapid antigen testing. Based on the information we have available today, we feel confident in our ability to participate in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl.
Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said,
Late this afternoon I met with our Player Leadership Group and they overwhelmingly want to play in the bowl game. We will continue to prepare and put our game plan together for the TransPerfect Music City Bowl using the technology we have available. While our first priority is the health and safety of our players and staff, our goal is to play and compete on Dec. 30.
I wondered aloud last week if word of Kirk Ferentz's positive COVID test could be the first indicator of an outbreak among the Iowa program. Unfortunately, there clearly is one. Now we wait to see if it will spell the end of the Iowa football season, days before a scheduled bowl game in Nashville, Tennessee.