Purdue University President Mitch Daniels won’t be afraid to put a halt to all team activities if one of the athletic teams experiences a COVID-19 outbreak sometime this year. That’s what he told a U.S. Senate committee on Thursday, according to USA Today.
Daniels was asked about how he would address an outbreak of COVID-19 involving one of Purdue’s athletic teams during a hearing of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. The Purdue president was asked if he would stop the operation.
“I completely agree with you. I think you would shut it down,” Daniels said. “And I think that somewhere out there, someone may very well face this situation. …We love sports, too, but first things first.
“And that starts with the safety of people — players, coaches. Don’t forget that the people who may be at most risk of a spread here are the older folks, coaches and others. So I hope we get back. But if it takes longer or if it is subject to interruption, then so be it.”
Some schools that have welcomed student-athletes back to campus have already seen positive tests. Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Marshall and Alabama have all reportedly had individuals test positive for the virus.
Also on Thursday, Daniels stated that he anticipates the Boilermakers playing home games with a one-fourth capacity crowd at Ross-Ade Stadium. The venue’s capacity is 57,000, meaning it would be around 14,500 fans in attendance.
Nothing definitive has been decided.
Purdue was one of the first colleges that announced a plan to resume on-campus classes in the fall. Though there will be some changes, that’s still the plan in West Lafayette.