Anyone curious how many Oklahoma players will be unavailable each week due to COVID-19 will have to wait until game day and see who steps on the field and who doesn't.
The Big 12 Conference is requiring all member schools to test players for the coronavirus three times a week — Sunday, Wednesday and Friday — this season. And OU, which released detailed COVID testing updates weekly over the summer, has opted to not publicly share its testing data with its season set to begin Saturday against Missouri State.
"Just like we would with an injury, we’ve just made the decision to not broadcast that,” OU coach Lincoln Riley said when asked how many active cases his program had on Tuesday. "I know we've been probably the most transparent school in the country up until then, but you don't want to give your team a competitive disadvantage so we're not going to do that."
OU disclosed its COVID testing data when the team fully returned to campus in early July and provided figures weekly through the first week of fall camp in August.
The Sooners’ COVID testing reports included the number of active cases among players and staff, the total number of players and staff tested, and any new recoveries. Names of players or staff were never shared in OU’s weekly updates.
While Riley will no longer give specific details to the team’s COVID situation, he doesn't anticipate the Sooners' season opener against the Bears will be postponed.
"I’d be surprised," Riley said during a Zoom video conference on Tuesday. "But at the same time, we’re all one big test away from having to make tough decisions. That’s every team every single week. I don’t ever want to say it’s impossible, but I fully expect we’ll be out there playing at 6 o’clock on Saturday."
Other Big 12 programs aren’t as fortunate.
Baylor, Oklahoma State and TCU are without games this weekend.
Baylor was scheduled to host Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. Saturday on FOX. The game was indefinitely postponed, the schools announced Tuesday, due to an outbreak within the Louisiana Tech football program.
Oklahoma State’s opener against Tulsa has been pushed from Sept. 12 to Sept. 19, the programs announced Monday. Tulsa's fall camp practices were halted for nine days with multiple members of the program testing positive for COVID-19. The Golden Hurricane’s limited preparation prompted the postponement.
"The safety and health of our student-athletes is always at the core of all of our discussions and decisions. Without time to properly prepare physically we would be putting our student-athletes at a greater risk of injury," said Dr. Derrick Gragg, Tulsa's athletics director, in a statement. "An open date for both schools presented us with the opportunity to reschedule the game for a week later. I'm appreciative of Mike Holder and Oklahoma State University for their cooperation in coming to this decision."
TCU's Week 1 contest against SMU was also called off, the teams announced last Friday.
The Frogs and Mustangs were scheduled to play Friday, Sept. 11, but it's been indefinitely postponed because an undisclosed number of TCU players and support staff tested positive for the coronavirus. TCU and SMU have not determined yet if the game will be rescheduled.
Riley said there isn’t a deadline for when a game can and can’t be canceled, but he said as late as the Friday before each game would likely be the last day to determine whether the program can play its next contest.
“Obviously you get to that last test on Friday and that test is going to have pretty quick results and you’ll have a pretty good idea of where you are at when you get those results,” Riley said. "I don’t know if they give us a drop-dead date but when we get those test results on Friday, we’ll have a pretty good idea.”