NC State football still on hold, UNC to play without fans

COVID-19 continues to affect the upcoming 2020 football season at state ACC schools

Empty sporting venues, like in this photo of Kenan Stadium from 2014, have become commonplace during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the UNC football team is learning to adapt to social distancing rules while preparing for the season. (Gerry Broome / AP Photo)

Athletic activities at NC State, suspended since Monday because of a COVID-19 outbreak, were resumed in 12 sports Friday, athletic director Boo Corrigan announced. 

Football, however, remains on hold.

“We will be testing our football again, consistent with our process of testing twice per week, and will make a decision on the next possible steps when we have additional information available to us,” Corrigan said in a statement. “We will continue to evaluate the most responsible path forward for our remaining programs and will provide futher updates as possible.”

State halted its athletic activity after a recent round of 693 COVID-19 tests revealed 22 new positives within the its programs. 

Although it has not been speficied which teams were involved or whether the positive tests were among players, coaches or support personnel, Friday’s announcement makes it clear that the football program has been affected more than the Wolfpack’s other teams.

Because ACC protocols require that those testing positive for COVID-19, along with those that have come into contact with them, must be quarantined for 10-14 days, it could be well into next week before football practice is resumed.

The Wolfpack’s season-opening game at Virginia Tech, originally scheduled for Sept. 12, has already been moved to Sept. 26. The 2020 season is now set to open on Saturday, Sept. 19 against Wake Forest at Carter-Finley Stadium. 

North Carolina, meanwhile, is scheduled to begin its season on Sept. 12 against Syracuse at Kenan Stadium.

Although the game is still on, athletic director Bubba Cunningham on Friday said that it and all other athletic competitions involving with Tar Heels in September will be played without fans in attendance.

“Every adjustment we have made has been with the health of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, and Carolina community in mind, including this one,” Cunningham said in his statement. “This attendance restriction will last through September, and we will continue to work with medical experts and the University to evaluate safety conditions with the hope that we can increase capacity in October. Tailgating also will not be allowed on campus.”