As if being a 40.5-point favorite entering Saturday’s season opener and coming off a College Football Playoff wasn’t enough, Oklahoma is still looking for every competitive advantage it can get entering the 2020 football season.
And that will now include not releasing COVID-19 testing data during a public health crisis.
Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley announced Tuesday that the school will no-longer release its testing data for competitive reasons.
“Obviously any active case or contact trace is gonna have repercussions and so just like we would with an injury, we’re not gonna — we’ve just made the decision to not broadcast that,” Riley said 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.”
This change will go into effect the week Oklahoma is scheduled to kick off its season against Missouri State on Saturday at 6 p.m. in Norman. Of course, Oklahoma is looking for its advantages in Big 12 play but it is choosing to be less transparent during a pandemic nonetheless.
Missouri State players are abiding by Big 12 protocols and will test Sunday, Wednesday and Friday of this week. MSU head coach Bobby Petrino indicated Monday that he expects to have most of his players available come Saturday.
Riley said he was confident Saturday’s opener against Missouri State would be played, especially in light of Monday’s postponement of the Oklahoma State-Tulsa game.
“As far as the postponement, I’d be surprised,” Riley said. “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.”
OU has released its COVID-19 testing data regularly, and almost weekly since testing began July 1. Its change is a surprise considering how transparent the school has been since testing began.
Missouri State has released numbers when asked by reporters. The most recent numbers weren’t immediately available on Tuesday but MSU wasn’t holding information back.
Another Big 12 school, Oklahoma State, released its COVID-19 testing data on Monday with the numbers being broken down by each individual sport.
Wyatt D. Wheeler is a reporter and columnist with the Springfield News-Leader. You can contact him at 417-371-6987, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or join the conversation on Twitter where his handle is @WyattWheeler_NL. You can also sign up for his free “Bears Beat” newsletter by subscribing on News-Leader.com.