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Three students from the University of Louisville have been dismissed from the men's soccer team for planning an off-campus party that led to a coronavirus outbreak among dozens of student-athletes. Three others on the soccer team have been suspended.
Twenty-nine members from the Cardinals men's and women's soccer, field hockey, and volleyball teams tested positive for COVID-19, the university announced this week. The positive tests were traced back to the Aug. 1 party, and several other student-athletes who were potentially exposed to the virus are under quarantine.
The Louisville Cardinals men's soccer head coach, John Michael Hayden, said the three players dismissed were primarily responsible for organizing the party and had prior team violations.
"I'm extremely disappointed in these young men and particularly with the three that have been dismissed," Hayden said. "They have demonstrated with their actions now and previously that they do not echo the culture of this program."
Director of Athletics Vince Tyra said he supported coach Hayden's decision to dismiss and suspend several students over the party Saturday.
"It is clear that these student-athletes did not meet the code of conduct of the university or their team," Tyra said. "Ignoring the safety protocols issued by federal, state, and local officials, as well as the athletic department, is unacceptable and dangerous."
The four teams have since temporarily halted all activities, including practice sessions.
Fears over the coronavirus pandemic have sent colleges scrambling to figure out how to safely welcome students back on campus and into classes. There have already been dozens of cases traced back to college fraternity parties, and experts say that there could be outbreaks on colleges comparable to prisons and cruise ships.
"It’s not going to be 100% safe, even if all the mitigation steps are taken,” Crystal Watson of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, a coauthor of a June guide to reopening for college administrators, told BuzzFeed News.