FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas athletic director Hunter Yurachek held a Zoom press conference Thursday afternoon.
He and other SEC ADs met earlier this week to discuss ways to play this fall in the midst of COVID-19. Yurachek provided an update on how the Hogs are combating the pandemic.
“To give you a little feel to date, we’ve had less than 10 student-athletes and 2 staff members who have tested positive for COVID,” Yurachek said. “With all but one of those that were infected having returned to their workouts and or work at this time. Based on the contract tracing from those positive tests, we currently have about 20 student-athletes who are still in some phase of of their 14-day quarantine period. But each of those student athletes have tested negative.”
The NCAA made headlines Thursday by announcing that football players should be tested for COVID-19 at least 72 hours before a game. Yurachek said that the Razorbacks & SEC are prepared to meet those guidelines.
“Football, volleyball, soccer, & cross country officially begin practice in the first week of August. Our testing protocols will be enhanced, and that will include at that point in time some rapid response testing on a weekly basis for all participating student-athletes in those fall sports. You may have seen about an hour or so ago that the NCAA released a third version of ther medical guidelines and recommendations. That included testing at least 72 hours prior to competition. And we’re prepared both as an institution and as a conference to fall in line with those plans.”
Yurachek also mentioned that there will be plenty of changes for fans who attend games in Fayetteville this fall.
“We’re finalizing a plan for football games at Razorback Stadium as well as soccer and volleyball games,” he added. “We’re working toward a goal to be able to accommodate each of our 32,700 season ticket holders who make a choice to attend the games or continue with their season tickets, along with students and player families. Attending games this year is going to involve several changes. The first is mobile ticketing. There will most likely be some staggered entry times for fans, assigned entry gates. I think you’ll see defined directional movement for patrons on concourses and aisles. Meaning when you’re on the concourse you’ll go down one way and come back the other, and it’ll be very little overlapping traffic. And then we’re working with Levy, our concession partner, to have pre-packaged concession items as well as preordered & prepaid concession items.”
The sights and sounds we’re accustomed to seeing on gamedays may not be there if we have fall football Saturdays.
“It’s still yet to be determined if we’ll have any performances by band or cheerleaders on the field,” Yurachek said. “So some of the things that make SEC football games and college football special, the pageantry that we’re all used to, probably not going to exist in a college football venue this year.”
You can watch the entire zoom press conference here.