Florida halts meetings, practices amid uptick in COVID cases

Athletic director Scott Stricklin said the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.”

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AP Photo/Thomas Graning

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — No. 10 Florida paused all team activities Tuesday following “an increase in positive COVID tests among players.”

Athletic director Scott Stricklin said the decision was made “out of an abundance of caution.” Stricklin says coach Dan Mullen has spoken with players and parents and adds that he told last week’s opponent, Texas A&M, and Saturday’s opponent, defending national champion LSU.

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Stricklin added that the situation “will be re-evaluated by UF Health and the athletic department’s sports medicine staff Wednesday.”

The move comes three days after Mullen’s eyebrow-raising comments about wanting 90,000 fans at Florida Field to create a better home-field advantage against the Tigers. Mullen didn’t double down Monday, but he didn’t back down, either.
Mullen brushed aside criticism for his postgame comments and praised his players for how well they have handled safety protocols.

“I think if you look at what we’ve been able to do, the safety precautions we have that our players have followed, our coaches follow, our staff follows, you know, I think we’re a model of safety of what we’ve been doing during this time period,” Mullen said.

“So I’m really proud of how we’ve handled everything and how safe we’ve been with everything we’re doing and all the precautions we’ve had in place during this time.”

The Southeastern Conference already has postponed one game this week: Vanderbilt and Missouri was tentatively pushed to Dec. 12 because COVID-19 issues have left the Commodores without enough players. It was the first SEC game rescheduled due to coronavirus-related problems and the 28th in the Football Bowl Subdivision to be postponed or canceled since Aug. 26.

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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas toBKennedy@wtvq.com