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Kevin Sumlin explains why he suspended a player for not following COVID protocol

If you stop and think about it, the entire world is kind of one big college football strength program right now.

The bargain coaches ask players to make -- to give everything you've got in every workout, to go to bed early, to lay off unhealthy food, all with the goal of realizing an intangible prize months into the future -- is what we're all being asked to do right now. The more small sacrifices we make for our fellow man today, the faster we can all get back to normal life.

College football players, of course, are being asked to do both right now: to dig deep in the weight room, to take care of their bodies at home, and to wear a mask in between. Failing to do the first jeopardizes the entire team's ability to succeed on game day. Failing to do the second jeopardizes whether the team can even have a game day.

This week, Kevin Sumlin discovered he had a player that wasn't willing to make that second sacrifice, to adhere to the program's coronavirus protocols when on school grounds.

As a result, Sumlin suspended him.

“There’s some people that are saying that we’re making guys do this, we’re making guys do that,” Sumlin told the Arizona Republic. “What we are making them do is go through the protocol. And if you’re not gonna adhere to the protocol, then we can’t have you here.

“It’s my job to protect and uphold that protocol for everybody else that’s involved in this organization — players, coaches, administrators, medical (personnel). You’ve got coaches’ families.

“If you’re not gonna pay attention to the protocol, wear a mask, all that other stuff, we just can’t have you around.”

Sumlin did not name the player by name, but the paper reported the player in question is offensive lineman Edgar Burrola.

A fourth-year junior, Burrola started six games at right tackle for the Wildcats last fall.

Arizona has reported three positive cases since resuming voluntary workouts last month, and, while not coming out and saying it, the program feared Burrola's behavior could lead to an outbreak.

Burrola wrote on Twitter that he was punished for voicing safety concerns about the workouts.

The Pac-12 has said all players with safety concerns can sit this season with their full scholarships intact.

Read the full story here.