It was only a matter of time really. As soon as it was announced that the Big Ten would begin to prepare for a belated football season it was a matter of if not when Covid reared its ugly head around the Purdue football team. The team announced today that head coach Jeff Brohm “returned a presumed positive result via an antigen test, we are awaiting confirmation via a PCR test.” As of this writing there has been no additional news on the results of this PCR test. Brohm is still scheduled to hold his regular press conference tomorrow. It will be held via zoom.
Before diving into how this might impact the team’s season opener on Saturday we here at Hammer and Rails want to wish Coach Brohm and all those around him good health and safety. It’s unclear at this point if Brohm is symptomatic but we certainly hope for the best for our head coach.
Now, onto the football questions. We have oh so many questions that need answered.
- Nicole Auerbach who is a Senior Writer at The Athletic covering college football provided some great information via tweet shortly after the news broker.
re: Jeff Brohm testing positive for COVID:— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) October 18, 2020
B1G athletes are required to be held out for 21 days following a positive diagnosis (for cardiac screening reasons).
Coaches follow CDC guidelines: 10 days isolation, can return at end of that if they've been symptom-free for 24hrs.
This means that if the PCR test comes back positive Jeff Brohm will have to remain in quarantine for 10 days and will not be available for the first game of the season. Now, does that mean that he can’t be on the field? Does that mean he can’t be in the stadium? Is he going to have to watch the game via drone and call in plays via some sort of headset? We just don’t know but it seems likely Purdue may have someone other than Brohm calling the plays on Saturday.
- So if Brohm tested positive today, what type of contract tracing and testing will the players now go under? Surely Brohm would be a person who is in close contact with numerous of the players and fellow coaches. Will any of them test positive? If so, they will be out for 21 days if they are a player and the same 10 days if a coach. This could have domino effects down the line for Purdue depending on how far this goes.
- Will there even be a game against Iowa? There are certain thresholds that teams must meet in order to go forward with games. One of those is that if the team positivity rate is greater than 5% the team must stop all practice and competition. Obviously we aren’t anywhere close to that right now but we just don’t know how this could extend out. For anyone interested the numbers that the conference is following can be found here.
- When will we know the results of the PCR test? I personally had to take a Covid test a couple months ago and it took nine days for my results to come back. This was in Maryland and in July so that number means basically nothing to how long it will take in Indiana in October. Plus, I’m not a multi-millionaire and one of the most well known people in the state. Perhaps that will make a difference.
- Will Purdue continue to be transparent about the results and how they are handling things going forward? (NOT COMMENTING ON THE CANDIDATES SO PLEASE JUST LISTEN AND DON’T GET ANGRY!) Medical information is a tricky thing because there are issues with releasing it and should Purdue want to slow down the process they certainly could. Take for example the fact that we don’t know exactly when President Trump tested positive for Covid versus Joe Biden releasing test results each day following the possible infection. Different scenario? Sure, but it shows the disparity in how one can handle this information. For me, I hope Purdue errs on the side of transparency.
I could go on all night with these questions but they would just get more and more speculative. For now, we await the results of the PCR test and word from the department on how they are going to proceed. We hope the test comes back negative and this is the last we hear of this issue.