Missouri State athletics reports 31 positive tests for COVID-19 among its 400 athletes

Published: Jul. 29, 2020 at 6:06 PM CDT
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Missouri State has released COVID-testing results for its athletic program and so far there have been 31 positive cases among the 400 athletes in various sports.

“It’s a number that we’re going to keep close tabs on,” said Katie Towns, the Assistant Director with the Springfield-Greene Co. Health Department.

No breakdown was available by sport, but the number represents about eight percent of the school’s athletic population. MSU did not have details on how many cases are still active or how many were asymptomatic.

Athletic Director Kyle Moats did say a majority of the cases were not members of the football program, which is scheduled to open against Oklahoma in a month. He also said that high-risk sports such as football, volleyball and soccer are being monitored closely in accordance with NCAA guidelines.

“Although we’re not testing daily like the NBA, we are testing weekly with all the high risk sports because that’s what’s mandatory,” Moats said. “So we are doing what we’re asked to do. I think we’re testing about as much as we can test and I feel comfortable with that.”

Perhaps most troubling about the news is that the significant number of cases comes even before other students converge on campus for fall classes.

And with MSU’s enrollment above 20,000 students the health department is preparing for things to get worse.

“Yes, we are anticipating we’ll see spread,” said Towns. “Anytime you have classes or close living situations there’s going to be spread of disease.”

Towns pointed out that after early COVID cases were spread out among all age groups, the situation has changed in the last couple of months with significant increases among 20 to 39 year-olds.

She pointed to public gatherings as the reason why.

”This virus is forcing us to do things that are alternative to some of our basic needs,” Towns said. “And socialization is real. Especially within that demographic we’re seeing those cases increase. We don’t want to say that people should abandon that but there are ways you can limit activity. If people could limit your social network and the number of people your around on a regular basis.”

As for the tenuous future of athletic activity?

“We want to have sports,” Moats said. “We believe that’s a big part of the college experience. We’ve got kids in the spring who were shut out. We certainly don’t want that to happen again so we’re gonna move forward...... as of today.”

Stay tuned.

Because as we’ve seen in major league baseball, things can change rather quickly.

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