Oklahoma State Football Coach Mike Gundy Aims For May 1 to Allow Players to Return, Hoping to Test All for Coronavirus

Oklahoma State University football coach Mike Gundy said Tuesday he believes his players, coaches and staff can return to the Stillwater campus by May 1. He said healthy, young athletes and testing of coronavirus among everyone involved with the football program are paramount in getting the program back on its feet during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Gundy believes he can start getting ready for a 2020 football season—if it actually happens—within the next three or four weeks, according to a teleconference Tuesday with reporters.

"How fast that can happen based on the tests that are available, I can't say right now, but that's the plan," Gundy said in this ESPN report. "We have to have a plan, and the plan right now is for them to start on May 1. It might get backed up two weeks. I don't know, I can't make that call, but if it does, we'll start with the employees of this company, the ones that come in this building. Then we'll bring the players in, and slowly but surely we'll test them all in."

Mike Gundy
Head coach Mike Gundy of the Oklahoma State Cowboys grins before Bedlam against of the Oklahoma Sooners on November 30, 2019 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma. OU won 34-16. Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Sports in America, and around the globe, have come to a complete stop because of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The NCAA last month shut down its championships for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year, which meant canceling the men's and women's basketball tournaments in their entirety, and no spring championships, which include baseball, softball, lacrosse and track and field. Fall sports have not been postponed or canceled.

Gundy said his staff often treats players and coaches with the flu, and those people get quarantined until they are well. He said the same could be done for people who have contacted coronavirus.

"We get people that get the flu during the season, we quarantine them, we treat them, we make sure they're healthy, we bring 'em back," Gundy said. "It would be the same thing here, but at some point, we've got to go back to work. We've got to get these guys back in here.

"From what I read, the healthy people can fight this, the antibodies make it better. They're doing some blood transplants now with the people that have already gotten the disease, that have gotten over it that have the antibodies that can fight it. There's a lot of people who can figure this out. May 1's our goal. Don't know if it will happen. Players will come in after that."

Gundy added that although there may be older people working within the program, or some with underlying health conditions, he said the majority of his program consists of older teenagers and those in their early 20s.

"Maybe they don't come back," he said, "but the majority of people in this building who are healthy ... and certainly the 18-, 19-, 20-, 21-, 22-year-olds that are healthy, the so-called medical people saying the herd of healthy people that have the antibodies may be built up and can fight this? We all need to go back to work.

"I'm not taking away from the danger of people getting sick," Gundy said. "You have the virus, stay healthy, try to do what we can to help people that are sick. And we're losing lives, which is just terrible. The second part of it is that we still have to schedule and continue to move forward as life goes on and help those people."