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Colorado State investigating football team over alleged neglect of coronavirus protocols

Colorado State investigating football team over alleged neglect of coronavirus protocols
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Colorado State University (CSU) on Tuesday launched an investigation into the school's football team over allegations the athletic department's leadership is neglecting coronavirus protocols.

CSU President Joyce McConnell launched the inquiry as coaches, players, and staff told ESPN that some officials in the athletic department are discouraging athletes from being tested for the virus, failing to follow quarantine guidelines for potential exposures and not accurately reporting data to local health departments.

McConnell voiced concern over the allegations, saying the school would support any players experiencing retaliation.

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"I assure you, if anyone has [violated our standards], we will investigate and we will find out," McConnell said.

The investigation is supported by Rams coach Steve Addazio and athletic director Joe Parker.

"It was troubling to read today that any student-athlete is concerned about our department's commitment to their health and safety," Parker said in the statement. "As we have reiterated daily with our staff and student-athletes, their health is our top priority."

The school previously announced on July 20 there were no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the athletic department. By Sunday, the department found 11 cases in football and five more from outside sports.

Several players from the team told ESPN a position coach told players to suppress any possible symptoms because "we can't afford it," a coach allegedly told one player.

Still, some players came to Twitter to deny team officials ever dismissed the health and well-being of players, calling the claims "Very inaccurate," team member Trey McBride said.

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Addazio reportedly addressed the team in a virtual meeting last week following eight players testing positive for the virus. A source told ESPN that Addazio told the team, "we're going to try to come back early," which would bypass the team's full 14-day quarantine.

A spokesman for the team, Kyle Neaves, said the quarantine was voluntary. He added that the school said in its original press release that the team anticipated a return to activities within the next two weeks.