James Franklin: PSU football had no positive COVID-19 results after 1st week of practice

Centre Daily Times (TNS)
James Franklin

Penn State football will not be happening this fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but James Franklin said it was through no fault of the program.

The Nittany Lions had protocols in place that the PSU head coach felt were working and said the entire organization — from coaches to players and everyone in between — yielded no positive results after it finished its first week of fall practice earlier this month.

“So many people worked so hard to make it work,” a frustrated Franklin said to the media in a video conference Wednesday morning. “A lot of people sacrificed a lot of things to allow for the football season to happen. ... The challenge is — you work so hard to create this culture and this chemistry and building this organization that runs like a family. ... We’ve worked to build these habits and now we’re trying to break them all down. ... And it was working. And it was working really well.”

Earlier this week, the Big Ten announced that the conference would not hold fall sports in 2020.

“I don’t necessarily have an issue with the decision,” Franklin said. “But I have an issue with the process and I’ve got an issue with the timing.”

The new information about PSU's COVID-19 results comes one week after the PSU athletic department announced it had no new positive results out of 94 tests as of Aug. 7. It’s unclear if the new results were part of the group announced Aug. 12.

The athletic department had conducted 560 COVID-19 tests as of that date and had returned only eight positive results. The eight positive tests all came in the third round of announced results on July 29. Neither the sports nor the identities of the individuals to test positive were announced.

Despite the success in preventing exposure to COVID-19, the Nittany Lions will not have an opportunity to take the field as previously scheduled. The program has turned its attention to — and will move forward in pursuit of — a winter season. Penn State was originally scheduled to kick off its season in just over two weeks.

“I’m extremely frustrated because we still have very few answers to communicate to our young men and their families about their futures and very little understanding of the factors contributing to the decisions,” Franklin said. “Penn State has worked extremely hard to provide the safest environment possible for our student athletes. Over the last three months, our student athletes have matched our institutions diligence by following the recommended recommended health and safety protocols with the intent to play this fall."