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College football programs getting hit with COVID-19 outbreaks

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LSU and Clemson are the latest programs to get hit by outbreaks of the virus.

NCAA Football: College Football Playoff National Championship-Clemson vs Louisiana State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In recent weeks, college football programs have seen their players return to campus to prepare for the 2020 season.

Unfortunately, that’s led to several large outbreaks of COVID-19, which could jeopardize the start of next season.

This past week, Clemson had 23 confirmed cases of the virus affect its football team.

Today, we learned that LSU has 30 players in quarantine due to potential exposure to the virus.

Many other schools have had minor outbreaks of the virus, though not to the degree of LSU and Clemson, the two teams that faced off last season for the national championship.

Houston was one of the first programs to have a significant outbreak of the virus, which led to the school pausing voluntary workouts. The same just happened at Kansas State, and you have to wonder if more college programs are about to follow suit.

What’s even more worrisome is these outbreaks are coming with players only allowed to do voluntary workouts, most of which is weightlifting and conditioning. What’s going to happen when everyone is back together on the practice field in July for full-contact activities?

Major League Baseball is also being affected by outbreaks of the virus, as the league is now set to close all spring camps temporarily.

The one bit of good news in these outbreaks is that they’re not leading to serious cases and hospitalizations amongst the players. However, these athletes aren’t being placed in a bubble like we’re seeing in the NBA, so they can easily transmit the virus to others who are more at risk for serious illness or even death.

In fact, Dr. Anthony Fauci said this week that football teams need to emulate plans by the NBA for a bubble setup or consider not playing in 2020 because of COVID-19.

Just a few weeks ago, it looked like a foregone conclusion that college sports would return this fall and not have any delays due to the virus. But with how things have gone over the last week — highlighted by several states reporting record-highs in COVID-19 cases — it’s starting to feel like the return of sports in 2020 is no longer a sure thing, again.

If nothing else, this is all yet another reason why there should not be fans in the stands at all this year.