The Minnesota Golden Gophers football program has no known positive cases for COVID-19 as the team opened fall preseason camp Friday, Aug. 8, head coach P.J. Fleck said.
Minnesota’s athletics department said there were seven positive cases across its programs for the month of June, when they reported to campus for voluntary workouts. They have not shared an overall figure for July.
While MLS, WNBA and NBA have had success in creating “bubbles” with only players and staff in isolated environments in Florida, the NCAA can’t create the same thing with communal living and the potential in-person classes and interactions this fall.
Fleck said they have slowed down practices to help mitigate risk, including no plans for padded sessions until at least next week. “We are going to do things at a snail pace to make sure our student-athletes are safe,” Fleck said.
Fleck added they have to try to create “synthetic bubbles” and have been reminding players by using things such as bubble machines and pictures of bubbles on walls within the Larson Football Performance Center. They have also tried to keep added distance at team meetings, practice and locker rooms, with added sanitation and masking options.
The Gophers are tentatively scheduled to open the Big Ten-only season in less than a month, Sept. 5 at Michigan State.
“If it ever happens as (Big Ten Commissioner) Kevin Warren has said, it has options to be flexible and pushed back,” Fleck said.