ROANOKE, Va. – UPDATE: On Monday, head coach Hugh Freeze addressed the media for the first time since concerns were raised by ACC schools regarding COVID-19 testing protocols.
“I say things sometimes and when you take them in just a brief sentence it can be taken a lot of different ways. I’m a football coach not a doctor but anyone that would think we don’t have a set of protocols to follow at this time--and we’re certainly following them-- really hasn’t taken the time to research it and to know it,” Freeze said in a virtual media availability.
“Certainly, I’ve got to say things more properly but I’m very confident in what our administration and team doctors have put in place for protocols for us and I issued them out through Twitter so they can take their time to go read them if they’d like to but I’m confident in our people.”
With just three major conferences still planning to play football this fall, testing protocols and safety measures become increasingly important as players and coaches hold out hope to suit up and hit the field for games in 2020.
The Flames are no different. Despite having loss multiple teams on its schedule due to COVID-19, they were able to keep all 3 ACC opponents in tack- Virginia Tech, Syracuse and North Carolina State. But recent comments from Liberty Head Coach Hugh Freeze, has raised eyebrows and caused concern from a Syracuse and N.C. State.
During a virtual media availability on Friday, when addressing the team’s response to COVID-19, Freeze said, “We’ve gone over two weeks without even having to have a test because no one has screened with any symptoms. Everyone is out of quarantine. We haven’t had a positive in over three weeks. So, we’re blessed right now.”
Freeze acknowledged that things are very fluid and can quickly change prior to week one but reiterated work continues in terms of keeping student-athletes educated on safety precautions and steps to take in order to stay healthy.
After hearing this, Syracuse athletic director John Wildhack told ESPN on Saturday that those comments were “deeply troubling” and “pose a threat to the health and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff.”
Though concern was raised, Liberty issued a response to questions surrounding what their testing protocols are and how often student-athletes are tested.
Liberty Responds to Questions about COVID-19 Testing pic.twitter.com/Xiqf5ZTVBD— Liberty Flames (@libertyflames) August 15, 2020
“Liberty University is following CDC, Commonwealth of Virginia, local health district and campus guidelines and protocols.
Liberty has conducted PCR baseline testing for the entire football team bubble and will follow NCAA requirements for testing as well as meet the testing guidelines for competition established by each conference if those are above the NCAA standard.
Liberty is contracting with Radeas Labs, located in Wake Forest, N.C., for its in-season testing program. Radeas’ clients include ACC members.
In addition, Liberty conducts daily screening of on campus student-athletes.”
The Flames are scheduled to play at Syracuse on Oct. 17, at Virginia Tech on Nov. 7 and at N.C. State on Nov. 21.