It looks like we might have a problem in Knoxville, as a combination of positive Covid-19 tests and contact tracing has sidelined nearly half the Tennessee Volunteers roster.
Tennessee had 44 players unable to practice today, Jeremy Pruitt just said.— Gentry Estes (@Gentry_Estes) September 5, 2020
Vols did have additional positive COVID tests, Pruitt said, but "the big issue for us has been the contact tracing."
We won’t weigh in from a public health perspective as we’re not epidemiologists here, but from purely a football one this is incredibly challenging for a team that has just 20 days until their opener at South Carolina on September 26th. Normal NCAA roster limits are 85 scholarship players and 105 players, but those are a bit more fungible due to Covid-19 this season.
The Vols were scheduled to have a team scrimmage today, but opted for a regular practice instead with just 30 players available. They aren’t the first SEC school to run into that problem, as Auburn went back to practice earlier this week down 16 players.
The NCAA rules for return to play say players who test positive must sit for 10 days and show no symptoms for three days before returning, and those who have had “high risk” contact with teammates have to sit out for 14 days.