OU football: Lincoln Riley says Sooners will not release further COVID testing data for competitive reasons
NORMAN — From the time OU football players reported back to Norman on July 1 until late August, the Sooners' COVID-19 testing data was regularly released — in most cases weekly.
But with the season beginning Saturday and testing ramped up to three times per week now, OU coach Lincoln Riley said that has changed.
"Obviously any active case or contact trace is gonna have repercussions and so just like we would with an injury, we're not gonna — we've just made the decision to not broadcast that," Riley said Tuesday. "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."
Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery expressed similar reasons recently for not releasing testing numbers. Oklahoma State released its testing numbers Monday.
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Players across the Big 12 — and the nonconference opponents they play — will test on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday of game weeks.
"Now there's three nights a week that you're gonna be holding your breath waiting for the phone call or text messages to come through with the results," Riley said. "It’s been pretty important to us the whole way because we knew we were gonna have a limited timeframe to get these guys ready to play anyways and so anybody that's been out either by a COVID test or contact trace, it's affected us and we've had to adjust.
"Of course I think players are probably more sensitive to it now because it can cost them games"
Riley said he was confident Saturday's opener against Missouri State (6 p.m., pay-per-view) would be played, especially in light of Monday's postponement of the OSU-Tulsa game.
"As far as the postponement, I'd be surprised," Riley said. "But at the same time, we're all one big test away from having to make tough decisions. That's every team every single week. I don't ever want to say it's impossible, but I fully expect we'll be out there playing at 6 o'clock on Saturday."