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Bryan Maggard's UL athletic department will be open for the first time since the coronavirus shutdown began when football players are able to begin voluntary workouts on Tuesday.

Originally scheduled for Monday, the UL athletic department will begin voluntary workouts for football players Tuesday instead to avoid any potential obstacles created by tropical storm Cristobal.

At that point, UL’s announced policy to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will go into effect.

Those policies begin with only approved student-athletes and staff will be allowed to enter the one entrance into the Mosing Student-Athlete Performance Center. All other entrances will be locked.

All those entering must go through daily screening, which includes a physical evaluation questionnaire and temperature check. Only those showing symptoms after that screening will be sent to the sports medicine staff for further evaluation and potentially to team physicians for testing.

Assistant director of athletics for sports medicine Travis Soileau said last week the process is not only to “ensure the health and safety of our sports programs, but also to mitigate possible outbreaks that could potentially jeopardize the future our athletic competition.”

While many other athletic departments around the country have instituted similar guidelines, others have opted for different paths.

For example, LSU’s athletes will receive COVID-19 antibody tests to reveal any who are recovering from the virus. Tulane, meanwhile, will be giving every athlete the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test and the antibody tests.

To date, the Pac-12 is the only league that has announced plans to require both initial and weekly virus testing for all its league schools, according to Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated.

There isn’t a consensus of opinion in the medical profession as to the importance of testing athletes that don’t display symptoms of the coronavirus.

On the professional level, NBC Sports’ Peter King is reporting the NFL plans to test its players multiple times per week for the coronavirus.

The Major League Baseball plan is similar with multiple tests per week, but commissioner Rob Manfred said last month “our experts are advising us that we won’t need a 14-day quarantine.”

Some college football programs have already returned and some positive tests have already been released.

Arkansas State of the Sun Belt reported seven positive test and university chancellor Kelly Damphousse said in a statement that anyone “who has been exposed to these students will be required to quarantine for 14 days.”

Elsewhere, multiple reports show three players at Auburn and Oklahoma State tested positive, in addition to reports of positive tests at Alabama, Marshall and Iowa State.

After Tuesday’s opening at UL, the Ragin’ Cajuns plan a second phase on Wednesday, July 1 involving men’s and women’s basketball, cross country, soccer and volleyball, and then another one on Monday, Aug. 3, with baseball, softball, golf, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s track and field.


Email Kevin Foote at kfoote@theadvocate.com.