Nearly a week after receiving good coronavirus news, University of Central Arkansas Athletic Director Brad Teague got just the opposite Wednesday.
The UCA volleyball team was forced to postpone matches against the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Arkansas State University this weekend because 12 players tested positive for covid-19. In addition, four members of the football program also tested positive.
"It's a tough situation, for sure," Teague said. "We always said we want to try until we couldn't anymore, and [coronavirus] is going to dictate that. We're going to give it our best effort, and we have.
"We'll re-evaluate and see where we go from here, but we've got to err on the side of caution."
Last week, Teague and UCA football Coach Nathan Brown were relieved after two sets of tests cleared all players after the the Bears' season-opening victory against Austin Peay in Montgomery, Ala., on Aug. 29. That allowed UCA to play the University of Alabama-Birmingham last Thursday.
Brown said 140 players and personnel were tested Monday, and the four who tested positive are asymptomatic. UCA doesn't play again until Sept. 19 at ASU.
"They should be back by the middle of next week," he said. "That's really the advantage of having a bye week. Anybody that's got to miss some time is really not going to miss a ton because we're not having heavy practice days this week. But Sunday will be a big pretty big day for us as a team, so the guys that tested positive, they'll probably miss a couple of prep days.
"But we've got them quarantined right now. There were a couple of contact traces with them, just roommates in those situations. So there's actually six or seven in all, and all of them seem to have no clue as to where they got it from."
That same question has Teague puzzled about the volleyball team. Of the 17 players on the roster, 12 have tested positive.
UCA lost a pair of matches to Texas State and Stephen F. Austin on Friday in Nacogdoches, Texas, but Teague wasn't sure whether the trip had anything to do with the test results. As of Wednesday night, neither of their opponents had released any information pertaining to positive tests in their programs.
"That's what's hard to understand," Teague said. "I'd be curious if any of them test positive, too. You just never know. It could've happened at some point during the trip when they stopped. It's just hard to understand.
"Obviously, somebody got it, and they were all together so it spread."
Teague said he's not too concerned with outbreaks in certain programs spreading to other athletic teams.
"As long as they're staying away from each other, I'm not really concerned about it branching out," he said. "We've got to rely on these young men and women to stay distanced. It seems like the football team has done a great job of it, too. I can't say that the volleyball team hasn't, I just don't know how they got infected and how it spread.
"Not having positive tests can be done. But unfortunately, sometimes, you just can't control it or stop it. These young ladies will quarantine for 10-14 days, depending on if they have symptoms or not. We'll see what happens after that."