August 5, 2021

COVID cluster causes ECU to pause spring football practice

Fourteen positive COVID-19 cases have been identified within the Pirates' program, according to their school's coronavirus dashboard

Coach Mike Houston and his Pirates have had their spring practice interrupted by a COVID-19 outbreak (Gerry Broome / AP Photo)

East Carolina announced Tuesday that it’s football program has paused all team-related activities effective immediately after test results revealed a cluster of positive COVID-19 cases within the program.

An update posted on ECU’s coronavirus dashboard reports that a cluster of 14 cases has been identified with the football program. According to an athletic department release, all those affected have been isolated based on the school’s medical guidelines while other members of the team have been quarantined for contact tracing in accordance with school policy.

“We made the decision to pause all football activities after speaking with our medical staff last night and again this morning,” ECU athletic director Jon Gilbert said in a statement. “I know it’s frustrating for our student-athletes, coaches and staff, but it’s a stark reminder we continue to live in a pandemic.

“The safety of all individuals within the program remains our top priority. We will continue testing and make a decision early next week when we can return to activities.”

Coach Mike Houston’s Pirates, who began spring practice on March 19, were in their second week of spring practice. They have completed five of the 15 offseason workouts allowed under NCAA rules.

It is not yet known when the team will be able to return to the field, though it is likely that Saturday’s scheduled scrimmage will have to be postponed.