College student athletes prepare to practice again

Posted at 7:03 PM, Aug 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-07 19:03:22-04

FORT MYERS, Fla. — It’s almost go-time for student athletes at Florida Gulf Coast University There’s only a negative COVID-19 test and physical exam standing in between the players and their practice.

FGCU Athletic Director Ken Kavanagh says first the women’s soccer team will get tested for COVID-19 and then isolate.

“Hopefully witnessing a negative test, then they will be able to go through physicals next Thursday,” said Kavanaugh.

He says players are ready to start practicing again ahead of the competitive season’s September 18th start date. But, he says scheduling will be a challenge.

“Some of the teams have already pulled out - off of our schedules, they’re not even playing in the fall,” he said. “Some others have not determined yet what they’re going to do.”

He added they have to be smart about competing against the teams that are left.

“I think most of us are going to look to we won’t compete against other institutions unless we have at least the same minimum threshold of testing,” he said.

Players will be tested regularly, but Kavanagh says not on a daily basis like professional athletes.

Then there’s the $2.5 million question. As of now they’re anticipating to have a winter basketball season, but if not, there’s a lot at stake.

“It’s going to be a hit. We’re guesstimating at this point in the neighborhood of $2.5 million that’s going to come away from our budget when you take away season tickets at the level we’ve been used to, Eagles membership, corporate sponsorships,” said Kavanagh.

He says they’re still waiting to hear from the Atlantic Sun Conference on whether or not fans will be allowed to watch any of the games. But, they have decided to replace athlete water bottles with disposable cups.

About 125 athletes and staff will get tested for COVID-19 Friday and Saturday, and about 300 when all sports can return.