Saluki Athletics Reports 0.5% COVID-19 Positivity Rate, Football Plans for Unknown

Aug 18, 2020

SIU softball coach and senior woman administrator Kerri Blaylock is leading the Saluki athletic department's task force for COVID-19 testing and return to practice and competition.

Working in partnership with Southern Illinois Healthcare, Saluki Athletics has processed approximately 930 COVID-19 tests to date, with five positive tests. They involve two asymptomatic student-athletes, two asymptomatic staff members and one symptomatic staff member. The Saluki athletics positivity rate is currently point-five-percent.

Blaylock says SIH is not expediting the testing for Saluki student-athletes. But, she says the test results have often come back withing 48 to 72 hours.

The Missouri Valley Conference postponed fall sports out of concern for the safety of everyone involved.

The SIU football team is moving forward without a fall season.

The Missouri Valley Football Conference decided to move the conference schedule to the spring and the Salukis were unable to land a non-conference game this fall.

Head Coach Nick Hill held a virtual news conference Tuesday to talk about the unusual situation. He says he agrees with other coaches who believe players are safer on campus, even if they aren't playing games.

"The protocols have been put in place here by our administration, our school and then by our coaching staff seeing that through. Everybody is taking it seriously. Our numbers speak for themselves as far as the testing percentages (they) are not even close to what it's like in the real public."

Hill hopes in the next week or so the NCAA will provide a schedule to schools not playing football this fall.