The North Carolina football program is pausing voluntary workouts after 37 of 429 athletes, coaches and staff within the UNC athletic department tested positive for COVID-19, the school announced on Wednesday.
UNC announced the positive cases Wednesday after previously saying it would not release numbers from its COVID-19 testing. The school's announcement did not specify how many of the positive COVID-19 tests came from within the football program, but it revealed the Orange County Health Department identified a "cluster," which is defined as five or more related cases.
The school's announcement described the decision to pause football workouts as a precaution.
Several other FBS football programs have also paused voluntary workouts after student-athletes tested positive for COVID-19. Others, such as fellow ACC member Clemson, have continued with voluntary workouts even after having numerous student-athletes test positive for the coronavirus.
The lack of uniform guidelines about how to handle coronavirus cases within FBS programs highlights what could become a competitive disparity between teams as the scheduled start of the season approaches with little oversight from the NCAA or individual conferences in place.
UNC football players first began returning to campus for COVID-19 testing on June 12 and were allowed to begin conditioning on June 15, according to the athletic department's return plan. The plan called for retesting of any athletes with COVID-19 symptoms and for all athletes 7-8 days after initial testing. Those who have tested positive are required to quarantine in a residence hall on campus or at their homes for 14 days.