Colorado State is investigating its football department, the university announced in a press release, following reports that coaches in the program had attempted to coerce players out of reporting possible symptoms of the coronavirus and warned the team against submitting themselves to self quarantine.
Following a story first published in the Coloradoan, officials at CSU said on Tuesday they were taking "extremely seriously" the accusations that football coaches had threatened students with reduced field time and had also attempted to manipulate contact tracing efforts to avoid having to remove players from practice.
"An article published today reports some extremely serious and deeply troubling allegations about how CSU Athletics is handling public health precautions surrounding COVID-19. Quoting several student athletes and members of the Athletics staff, the story raises concerns about whether the health and well-being of our student athletes is truly the top priority of Colorado State University," read a letter signed by university President Joyce E. McConnell.
"We take the concerns of our student athletes extremely seriously. If we learn that there are any employees of CSU Athletics who do not share Colorado State University's commitment to student health and well-being above all else, we will address the issue immediately."
Since late July, the CSU football department has seen at least 11 football players and five additional student athletes test positive for the virus that has stunted the global economy and upended the world of U.S. sports.
Professional athletic leagues in recent weeks have attempted to launch their seasons with some measure of normalcy, to varying degrees of success.
The National Basketball Association, which has had 22 of its 30 teams secluded in a tightly restricted "bubble" to limit players' exposure to the outside world, has begun playing the remaining games of its truncated season all in Orlando, Fla., where players have been quarantined.
In Major League Baseball, however, several games had to be postponed after some 17 players on the Miami Marlins tested positive for COVID-19. Dozens of players and coaches in the league have also been confirmed positive for the illness.