It’s tough to play ball with COVID-19 lingering as a persistent threat across college campuses in the U.S.  Texas Tech is grappling with that reality after at least 20 players have tested positive for COVID-19.

“Nobody’s been wiped out,” Texas Tech Matt Wells told the Associated Press when asked if any position groups had been specifically affected. “But certainly when you have that many positives, then it obviously affects some groups.”

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Texas Tech reported Tuesday that there were approximately 24 active positive cases within its athletic program, according to the AP, including the 21 involved with the football team. The school announced that it completed 1,382 tests for COVID-19 among its student-athletes, coaches and staff with 64 cases, ESPN reported.

Wells told ESPN one of those who tested positive was a coach who is not a full-time staff member. Wells added that the football team will continue to practice without those who have been placed in quarantine.

“We followed all the protocols in here, and you just look at your numbers, and there’s plenty of guys to practice,” Wells told ESPN. “But when you practice the way we practice, which is extremely fast, and I believe very efficient…when you start getting a few less numbers, then you change the way you practice a little bit.”

In light of campus protocols regarding the novel coronavirus, the university said that student-athletes who test positive for COVID-19 are immediately placed in self-isolation to prevent spread of the virus.

News of the virus cases emerging on the Texas Tech football team sparked a back-and-forth on social media about college football and safety amid the pandemic.

Wells told ESPN that Texas Tech takes several precautions for players to guard against coronavirus during practice, including wearing masks and having splash guards on athletes’ helmets.

The school has tested every member of the program since late July, according to the AP, and the program will soon begin testing three times a week under Big 12’s requirements for high-risk sports.

alison.medley@chron.com

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