Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy Gets Pushback On May 1 Return Date
Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy has set May 1 as the "goal date" for when he "hopes to begin bringing back staff members through testing" for coronavirus, according to Jacob Unruh of the OKLAHOMAN. Players would "soon follow, though that can't officially happen until a month later, per Big 12 rules banning all in-person activities through May 31." Gundy said, "The plan right now is for that to start on May 1. It might get backed up two weeks. I don't know. I can't make that call. But if it does, we'll start with the employees of this company -- the ones that come in this building. Then we'll bring the players in. Slowly but surely, we'll test 'em all in." OSU in a statement last night responded to Gundy's comments, saying, "We will adhere to the advice of public health experts who are making informed decisions in the best interest of the citizens of our nation and state based on sound scientific data. We will also abide by the federal and state mandates as well as Big 12 guidelines." Meanwhile, Gundy yesterday also said that college football "must be played, with or without fans in the stands," and he believes the season "will start on time" (OKLAHOMAN, 4/8). OSU AD Mike Holder also "declined to back Gundy's timeline." Holder in a statement said, "May 1 seems a little ambitious" (ESPN.com, 4/7).
CASTING SOME DOUBT: Gundy said that he "hopes that coronavirus testing can begin for all 100 employees of the OSU program" by his May 1 target date. Gundy said that once each person is cleared, that person "can return to Boone Pickens Stadium and 'get back to work.'" In Tulsa, Bill Haisten notes after coaches and support staff are "in place," each of the 105 OSU players "would be tested." But Haisten wonders, "For people who are asymptomatic, will tests be that commonly available by May 1?" In addition, only three of those 105 players "currently are in Stillwater" while the rest are "scattered all over North America." Mass testing "would require incredibly precise coordination" (TULSA WORLD, 4/8).
IRRESPONSIBLE PLAN: USA TODAY's Dan Wolken writes under the header, "Mike Gundy's Latest Ridiculous Comments Out Of Touch With Reality Of Coronavirus." Gundy is "pushing for something different, something so tone-deaf that it's obvious he sees himself not as part of an institution of higher education but as the head of a professional franchise that operates as a separate entity entirely." Gundy said that he "didn't see a problem with a college football team being on campus while the rest of the school was shut down." Wolken: "That's not just ridiculous, it's self-defeating." If Gundy "hasn't realized by now that the current coronavirus situation is not going to end based on the college football schedule, he's probably never going to get it" (USA TODAY, 4/8). SI.com's Pat Forde wrote Gundy's statements "could be considered ignorant" or "dangerous" or both (SI.com, 4/7).