Rutgers has had at least 30 football players test positive for COVID-19 since the team returned to campus in mid June.
Coach Greg Schiano released the information on Friday in his first conference call since the Big Ten Conference decided not to play football this fall.
Schiano, who was hired in December for a second tour with the struggling Scarlet Knights, said the the majority of the positive tests came in the past three weeks after the team suspended activity following a report of six positives. There were only four positive tests the first six weeks.
Schiano said there were 30-31 total cases and all the players are doing well. Only two remain quarantined. Half the group showed no symptoms, he said, and the worst case was like a very bad flu where the player sweated “through the sheets.”
All the players who have tested positive are receiving full cardiac workups, the coach said. There has been concern about myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that has been found in some COVID-19 patients.
Schiano said the coronavirus pandemic has taught him that speculating is a waste of time. He thought the team was doing well and suddenly it was sidelined.
“It was like getting hit by a 2-by-4 when all the cases happened,” Schiano said.
There are estimates the lack of a football season will cost Rutgers $50 million. Schiano said there will have to be some belt tightening. He said he has talked to athletic director Pat Hobbs and he will keep his 10% salary cut in place.
Schiano did not want to talk about how the pandemic has affected the team, noting that many people have either died or suffered a family tragedy.
“We are going to be fine,” Schiano said. “A lot of people lost loved ones who are not going to be with them, so I have tried to share that with our players. Let’s keep this all in perspective. It’s adversity, sure, because it is not what we are used to. It’s not what we thought would happen. But in the grand scheme of things, we got it pretty good.”