Five days after being upset at West Virginia, the Baylor football team suffered another setback, thanks to the coronavirus.
Athletic director Mack Rhoades announced Thursday that Baylor was temporarily halting all football-related activities because of an uptick in positive COVID-19 tests following last weekend’s road trip to Morgantown.
“We suspect that it’s something that has to do with the road trip,” Rhoades told SicEm365 Radio, “but we’re certainly not for certain. We haven’t exhausted every possibility yet.
“We’re scratching our head and trying to figure it out. Our student-athletes have been really responsible. We talked about the precautions we took on the trip, the way we traveled, how we traveled, when we ate. I don’t know. I wish I had more answers right now, but we don’t. We’re working on them.”
Baylor is currently in its bye week. The Bears’ next game is an Oct. 17 game against Oklahoma State in Waco. Rhoades said the decision to pause football-related activities for the rest of the week was a precautionary measure he hopes will enhance Baylor’s chances of returning to the field against the Cowboys.
“Right now we’re OK from a position group (standpoint),” Rhoades said. “From the Big 12 cancellation criteria, today we’re in good shape, and we’re focused on playing again on the 17th against Oklahoma State.
“What we worry about is … we’ll test again tomorrow and see what those results indicate. And then we’ll test again Sunday and see what those results indicate. Those are the two hurdles that we still have to go through.”
Rhoades told SicEm365 that he and head coach Dave Aranda met with Baylor’s players at 2:30 Thursday to tell them the news.
“We told them that because of the upticks in positives and close contacts, the rest of the week … we’re going to shut down,” Rhoades said. “We weren’t planning to practice (anyway). But weightlifting … we’re going to cancel those (sessions). Right now we’re in decent shape to play. But we still have some testing to get through for the rest of the week, and everyone needs to be available to do that.”
Baylor’s Sept. 12 season-opener against Louisiana Tech was canceled when 38 Bulldogs players tested positive for COVID-19 a few days before the game. One week later, Baylor was forced to cancel its game against Houston because of COVID-related issues.
The Bears finally opened the season Sept. 26 with a 47-14 over Kansas before falling 27-21 in overtime last week at West Virginia.