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Players, staffers allege COVID cover-up at Colorado State

Wednesday Update> 

CSU president Joyce McConnell told ESPN the university is launching an immediate investigation into the allegations detailed below. "I assure you, if anyone has (violated our standards), we will investigate and we will find out." Director of athletics Joe Parker also released a statement calling the allegations "troubling".

Original article - Tuesday afternoon:

Colorado State coaches are instructing players not to report COVID-19 symptoms to training staff, threatening players who quarantine with reduced playing time and altering contact tracing reports to keep players on the practice field, according to an explosive report Tuesday from the Fort Collins Coloradoan.

The paper says 10 individuals -- players and athletics staff -- came forward to blow the whistle on the handling of COVID-19 suppression inside the Rams' football program.

CSU reported no cases within the athletics department as of July 20, but by Sunday the number climbed to 16 -- including 11 football players. Twenty-seven players missed practice last week due to quarantine before the university paused workouts.

However, Addazio has pushed to continue holding practices despite players showing obvious symptoms. From the paper:

"We had a player who definitely had coronavirus symptoms coughing at practice and he wasn’t wearing a mask and I was next to him, touching him and there was spit and sweat,'' a player said. "I told him he needed to get tested but he really didn’t want to because then he would be out. The next day he is not at practice. (If he tested positive) he already had spread the virus. That’s why a lot of players don’t feel safe at football practice.''

Players and staff also told the paper that coaches have attempted to coerce health administrators into altering reporting protocol in order to keep athletes out of quarantine.

Colorado State AD Joe Parker disputed the claim, saying, "There is no influence from our coaching staff on those kinds of decisions and those decisions are made outside of the athletic department and that is the way I want it."

Meanwhile, several players came forward to say the program has handled virus protocol correctly.

Colorado State's associate AD for communications tweeted this as well.

The Colorado State program is in Year 1 under a new staff after hiring Steve Addazio, 61, in December. Colorado State conducted its latest round of tests on Monday; results are expected Wednesday or Thursday.

Mountain West presidents were scheduled for a vote to approve a fall football schedule on Wednesday. Reports like this could get the season shut down -- not just on Colorado State's campus, but everyone's.

Read the full report here.