The Oklahoma Sooners begin their attempt to win their sixth-straight Big 12 Championship tonight when they host the Missouri State Bears in Norman. But it appears that the Sooners are going to be a bit shorthanded for the game.
According to a report from Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel, the Sooners will be, “significantly shorthanded,” against the Bears, as COVID-19 positive tests, contract tracing, suspensions and injuries are all leading to players being out. OUInsider confirmed the report.
The news of Oklahoma being shorthanded on Saturday comes in the same week that head coach Lincoln Riley was under a bit of fire for some comments he made in regards to COVID-19 testing. Early in the week, Riley said that the school had chosen to no longer release its numbers on COVID-19 positive test because it was looking to avoid giving opponents a competitive advantage when preparing for games.
“As far as active cases, I think we’re to the point now where we’re playing games, and obviously any active case or contact trace is going to have game repercussions,” Riley said Tuesday during his first game week press conference. « And so, you know, just like we would with an injury, we’re not gonna. We just made the decision to not 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.”
OU most recently released COVID-19 data back on Aug. 24, announcing six more Sooner football players tested positive. That ran the team’s active case count to 17. The data came from a pair of tests on Aug. 17 and 20. Five out of 88 came back positive on the first day, while only one of 78 came back positive on the second day.
A day later, Riley announced that eight or nine players then returned to practice. That cut the number from 17 down into single digits.
“Well, on a positive front, today was a good day for us. I think we got either eight or nine of those guys back today, which was nice,” Riley said during a Zoom call. “So that was definitely very helpful. It’s been challenging the last week or so with combining the COVID cases, the contacts and then we’ve had a stomach bug that’s kind of been raging through, I think, this whole part of the country a little bit that’s knocked several of our guys out as well.
“So it’s good to get some of those guys back today. So I would say now we’re definitely under 10 active cases.”
Oklahoma and Missouri State kick off at 7 p.m. ET. The game is on a pay-per-view purchase only.
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