NORMAN- Head coach Lincoln Riley spoke to the press for the first time since the Oklahoma Sooners football team released their initial COVID-19 testing numbers Wednesday evening.
The Sooners announced seven positive tests from the 111 administered for the Coronavirus, as well as an additional seven positive cases the program was aware of before this initial round of testing.
“No surprise, we certainly weren’t expecting zero,” Riley said. “I think we’re a microcosm of the whole country right now.”
While Oklahoma reported back to campus on July 1, later than a majority of the country, the reality of the Coronavirus is impacting every campus.
“This is new for everybody,” Riley said. “Not one thing we do on any given day that’s not affected by this pandemic.”
Riley said the Oklahoma staff has been keeping tabs on how programs across the country are trying to keep their players safe as well. Though they’ve been able to learn from other programs, Riley said there are still variables outside of the program’s control.
“The majority of the cases that you’re having have been traced back to what players are doing in the other 20 something hours a day that you don’t have them,” he said.
“Our deal is just trying to educate and trying to make sure that [the players] understand the repercussions of their actions.”
The program will continue to “surveillance test” the players during the fall practice period, Riley said.
Riley also said he hoped there would be clear testing protocols for every program in college football to follow to ensure the safety of the athletes competing in the fall.
What an eventual season could look like is still up in the air. Riley made news earlier this week when he was in support of playing football in the spring if conditions made fall football impossible.
For now though, things appear to be on schedule. Riley seemed confident the non-conference slate will remain intact.
“I still think we have a really good chance of it,” he said.
Riley did acknowledge that scheduling is fluid as more data is collected on the reach of COVID-19.
“There’s no 100% right now, I mean things are changing quickly,” he said.
The Sooners athletic department also announced a 10% salary reduction for any employee making over $1,000,000 on Wednesday.
Riley said the decision was quick for him.
“Joe [Castiglione] stopped by the house and told me what he was thinking and it took me about two and a half seconds and ‘I said I was good with it’ and that was it,” Riley said.
“It’s unprecedented and we’ve all got to do our part,” he said.
“It’s changed things for all of us.”
Throughout the press conference, Riley stressed things are still very fluid and that in his eyes, every option is still on the table to ensure a football season happens.
The Sooners are scheduled to kickoff the 2020 season against Missouri State Bears on Sept. 5 in Norman, OK.