CSU football under fire for alleged COVID-19 cover up

Scott Nies

Colorado State University’s athletic administration and football program are under fire for allegations that coaches have encouraged players to not report COVID-19 symptoms so the team can continue to practice.

According to the Coloradoan, players say they have been threatened with reduced playing time should they report any symptoms or miss practices due to quarantining.


In a campuswide email, CSU President Joyce McConnell announced she will be commencing a full investigation into the claims reported by the Coloradoan. CSU athletic director Joe Parker and football coach Steve Addazio also released statements indicating their complete support of McConnell’s investigation

These allegations come roughly a week after CSU paused all football operations because of a recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases.

An anonymous player and staff member spoke to the Coloradoan, sharing their concerns regarding how CSU athletics and football coaching staff have been handling COVID-19 concerns.

“I believe there is a cover-up going on at CSU,” the unnamed player told the Coloradoan. “It’s not about the health and safety of the players but about just trying to make money off the players.”

An anonymous athletic department staff member told the Coloradoan, “The common denominator with this administration is to protect the coaches before the student-athletes, and that makes them feel more like cattle than student-athletes.”

However, many current Ram football players have denounced the story on Twitter, claiming that many of the claims in the Coloradoan article are fabricated.

Redshirt senior defensive lineman Toby McBride retaliated to the article on Twitter stating, “All coaches wear masks at all times.”

McBride went on to further denounce the story: “We fill out symptom questionnaires daily before we are allowed into the facility. They even provided us (with) masks and wash them daily.”

Redshirt junior quarterback Todd Centeio, a transfer from Temple University, also disputed the allegations via Twitter.


“Coming from a player with a compromised immune system, I never felt like @CSUFootball ever put me in jeopardy,” Centeio wrote. “I have felt very comfortable and safe while going through both voluntary and mandatory workouts. The allegations are not true.”


The immediate rejection of these allegations over social media from numerous current players has created controversy surrounding the issue, especially as the source providing these claims for the Coloradoan has been identified as a current player on the team.

The article claims that coaches have been pressuring health administrators to not quarantine exposed athletes so they can continue practicing.

“There is no influence from our coaching staff on those kinds of decisions, and those decisions are made outside of the athletic department, and that is the way I want it,” Parker said.

However, the Coloradoan reported that players and staff have consistently been exposed to other players with symptoms and some who tested positive, according to their sources.

Players voicing their concerns regarding health risks surrounding COVID-19 and playing in the fall season have seen national traction in the form of the #WeAreUnited movement. Most notably, in the open letter published on The Player’s Tribune, where a group of Pac-12 players wrote penning their demands for better financial representation and health security.

Scott Nies can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @scott_nies98.