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Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley refuses to release team COVID-19 data, saying it hurts team

Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley will no longer publicly release any of the team’s COVID-19 testing results, saying doing so gives opponents a competitive advantage.

Many college teams have been releasing screening results without naming players individually as some NCAA conferences prepare for the fall season amid the pandemic while others wait to start a postponed campaign in the spring of 2020.

Oklahoma’s athletic department began testing in early July, and most recently announced 17 active cases among football players, including six new diagnoses. At the time, Riley admitted that one unspecified position had been ravaged by coronavirus, saying that ‘all but one’ player in that group tested positive.    

Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley will no longer publicly release any of the team's COVID-19 testing results, saying doing so gives opponents a competitive advantage

Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley will no longer publicly release any of the team’s COVID-19 testing results, saying doing so gives opponents a competitive advantage

‘I think we’re to the point now where we’re playing games and obviously any active case or contact trace is going to have game repercussions,’ Riley told reporters Tuesday. ‘So, just like we would with an injury, we made the decision to not broadcast that. I know we’ve been probably the most transparent school in the country up until then, but you don’t want to give your team a competitive disadvantage, so we’re not going to do that.’

Saturday marks the Sooners’ opener against Missouri State, but despite the recent positive cases, Riley does not think the game will be postponed.

‘I’d be surprised but, at the same time, we’re all one big test away from having to make tough decisions,’ Riley said, ‘and that’s every team, every single week. So I don’t ever want to say impossible, but I fully expect to be playing out there at 6 o’clock on Saturday.’

Meanwhile the state’s other major college football programs, Oklahoma State and Tulsa, pushed back Saturday’s opener until September 19 as protocols have prevented the latter from practice more than seven times since August 7.

The Oklahoma Sooners take the field before the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Norman, Oklahoma. This season's opener will take place against Missouri State on Saturday

The Oklahoma Sooners take the field before the game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 28, 2019 in Norman, Oklahoma. This season’s opener will take place against Missouri State on Saturday 

Although Oklahoma plays in the Big 12, coaches in the ACC echoed Riley’s concerns and have agreed to tell reveal what players are not available before games without disclosing any specific injury or viral diagnosis.

Clemson coach Dabo Swinney recently refused to reveal COVID-19 testing data, saying it is the team’s longstanding policy to protect players’ privacy.

‘It’s a very unique year and usually I’m always very transparent when it comes to who’s available and who’s not,’ Swinney said. ‘There will definitely be some guys not available every week for every team and it can change. 

‘We’ll have a few guys that I’m sure will not be able to play for whatever reason, whether it’s some type of short-term type injury thing or COVID protocols, whether they’ve had it or quarantine or whatever it may be and that will probably be the case from week to week and almost day to day. What everybody has decided to do is game day, here’s who’s available and here’s who’s not, and let’s go play.’

Swinney has said that a ‘couple’ of players have tested positive.

Although Oklahoma plays in the Big 12, coaches in the ACC echoed Riley's concerns and have agreed to tell reveal what players are not available before games without disclosing any specific injury or viral diagnosis. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney (pictured) recently refused to reveal COVID-19 testing, saying it is the team's longstanding policy to protect players' privacy

Although Oklahoma plays in the Big 12, coaches in the ACC echoed Riley’s concerns and have agreed to tell reveal what players are not available before games without disclosing any specific injury or viral diagnosis. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney (pictured) recently refused to reveal COVID-19 testing, saying it is the team’s longstanding policy to protect players’ privacy

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