Utica College puts all sports on pause amid rise in COVID cases among student-athletes

Utica College is pausing all athletic activity after several student-athletes, who are suspected of attending off-campus parties, tested positive for coronavirus.

Posted: Feb 24, 2021 10:33 AM
Updated: Feb 25, 2021 12:56 AM

UTICA, N.Y. – Utica College is pausing all athletic activity after several student-athletes, who are suspected of attending off-campus parties, tested positive for coronavirus.

Utica College President Laura Casamento says the positive cases have not come from athletic activities.

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“There continues to be no evidence of transmission occurring as a result of athletic activity. Instead, we have reason to suspect that members of a small number of our teams have hosted or attended off-campus parties in violation of College health and safety protocols as well as local health order,” Casamento wrote in a letter to the college community Wednesday.

She says the college will investigate, and some students may face serious consequences.

“I have instructed the Offices of Campus Safety and Emergency Management to conduct an investigation and report their findings directly to my office,” said Casamento. “Any individuals found in violation will be transitioned to remote instruction and face additional possible sanctions. Individual teams will also be held accountable, including possible suspension of the entire season.”

While student-athletes commonly gather outside of practice to bond as a team, Casamento says that is not appropriate during a pandemic.

“Let me be clear: I understand that the type of behavior we are investigating, in normal times and under normal circumstances, is part of the fabric of team chemistry,” she said. “But these are not normal times, and right now this behavior is irresponsible, selfish, cavalier, and, most of all, dangerous.

In a prior letter Casamento sent out Tuesday, she said 18 COVID-19 cases were confirmed in just one week, mostly among student-athletes.

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