Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Hogs record zero positives in testing
Arkansas coach Sam Pittman watches players during a July 2020 workout in Fayetteville.
FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas football program will have good news on covid-19 testing to provide in updates with the SEC this week.
Sources told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the UA got back zero positive results Wednesday after conducting tests on about 200 personnel, which included the entire football team, the coaching staff and auxiliary personnel on Tuesday.
A UA spokesperson said the school could not confirm the testing numbers, just as the athletic department was not revealing total numbers of positive tests earlier during the crisis.
Athletic Director Hunter Yurachek provided a statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
"Our student-athletes, coaches and staff have been incredible in adapting to a dynamically changing environment for college athletics, in which they are screened daily, tested frequently, wear masks and meet, practice and train in a different manner," Yurachek said. "And one where the choices that they make in their personal lives can have a dramatic impact on them and on their team."
In a Zoom conference with reporters on July 16, Yurachek announced the department had experienced fewer than 10 positive test results, two of them from staff members, and only one active case.
The Razorbacks are midway through their first full week of walkthroughs as part of an increase to 20 hours of football activity per week. They are scheduled to open training camp Aug. 7.
SEC chancellors and presidents are scheduled to hold video conferences with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey today to give updates from their campuses and discuss potential solutions for fall sports.
Sankey has said he planned to provide some kind of update on fall sports by the end of the month, which is Friday.
Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger reported Wednesday that the SEC was "moving closer" to a conference-only 10-game schedule. Dellenger wrote that SEC athletic directors agreed on the matter Wednesday, but also added that the situation was fluid and the SEC might not announce a decision until next week.
Sankey released a statement that read, "It is not appropriate to respond to anonymous sources and speculation. We continue our discussions focused on the return of fall sports, including football. We will announce any decisions at the appropriate time."
The Razorbacks are scheduled to open the season Sept. 5 with a home game against Nevada, then travel to Notre Dame on Sept. 12.
The Fighting Irish were included in the scheduling plan for the Atlantic Coast Conference that was released Wednesday. The ACC intends to play a 10-game conference schedule, plus one non-conference game in the home state of the ACC school starting the week of Sept. 7.
Those parameters would not preclude an Arkansas at Notre Dame game, which would be the first between the programs, as long as the SEC agrees to play at least one nonconference game.
ESPN's Heather Dinich reported Wednesday evening that Notre Dame was still evaluating its nonconference opponents, Navy and Arkansas and would make an announcement "in the near future." The Irish are scheduled to play Navy on Sept. 5 in Annapolis, Md., in a game that was originally scheduled for Aug. 29 in Dublin, Ireland.
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