Report: Oklahoma Is Expected To Be ‘Significantly’ Shorthanded Tonight


Earlier this year, as college football teams returned to campus and began workouts in hopes that there would be a season this fall, Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley was one of the most open coaches when it came to discussing struggles with handling outbreaks of COVID-19. That transparency within the Sooners program is no more.

Just days ago, ahead of OU’s season opener against FCS program Missouri State, Riley had a major about-face with regard to handling COVID-19. Rather than open reporting of cases within the program, the staff is now handling it like an injury, in order to remove any potential “competitive disadvantage.”

“As far as active cases, I think we’re to the point now where we’re playing games, and obviously an active case or contact trace is gonna have game repercussions,” Riley said. “And so, you know, just like we would with an injury, we’ve made the decision not to broadcast that.”

“I know we’ve been probably the most transparent school in the country up until then but you don’t want to give your team a competitive disadvantage so we’re not going to do that.”

The result: it is gameday, and we’re just finding out that Oklahoma football is expected to be “significantly shorthanded” thanks to a combination of positive tests, contact tracing, suspensions, and injuries, per a report by Pete Thamel.

Sources: Expect Oklahoma to be significantly shorthanded against Missouri State tonight. There’s COVID positive tests, contact tracing, suspensions and injuries all contributing to that. The total number is unclear, but it’s significant.

Lincoln Riley’s transparency had been a bright spot in the sport during the summer. Now, he is handling things like most other coaches.

Concerns of “competitive advantage” are tough to sell, when it serves to shield the public of a full view of what this season is being played through. ESPN’s Pablo Torre broke things down well on a recent episode of the ESPN Daily podcast:

“Shielding the public from the depth of these numbers also offers an advantage over those critics and scientists who are logically concerned about the Sooners competing during a global pandemic at all.”

This could very well become the norm for college football this season. Just today, Georgia Southern announced over 30 inactive players just ahead of kickoff against FCS team Campbell. The Eagles trail that one 13-3.

I wouldn’t worry about Oklahoma falling to Missouri State, but this is going to be an ongoing concern for the entire sport.

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