UNT testing shot

The North Texas athletics department has 15 active coronavirus cases in athletics following its latest round of testing conducted last week.

The North Texas athletics department saw its coronavirus case count jump from three to 15 following its latest round of testing conducted last week.

The total is the highest the school has had since it had nine active cases in July.

UNT has not released its testing figures publicly. An athletic department source provided them to the Denton Record-Chronicle on Monday morning.

The source said the majority of the 15 cases do not involve members of the UNT football program.

The school has conducted 8,093 tests and seen 38 members of the department recover from an infection, up three from last week.

Only one of the three members of the department who tested positive last week was a student-athlete.

UNT conducted its latest round of testing before its football team was scheduled to travel to El Paso for a game against UTEP on Saturday. UNT officials called off that game due to a spike in cases in El Paso.

UNT saw its case count decline for three straight weeks and bottom out at zero after a round of testing that was completed prior to its football team’s loss to Charlotte on Oct. 10.

The school had one active case the following week before the total number of cases rose again to three in last week’s report.

UNT’s football team is scheduled to host Louisiana Tech in a Conference USA game on Saturday at Apogee Stadium. The Mean Green have not played since knocking off Middle Tennessee on Oct. 17 and are 2-3 on the season.

UNT has already lost three games to the coronavirus pandemic. The school was forced to cancel its game at Houston on Sept. 26 after a coronavirus outbreak among its players. The outbreak significantly reduced the number of linebackers UNT had available, making it impossible for the Mean Green to play.

UNT’s Sept. 12 game at Texas A&M dropped off the calendar before the season began, when the SEC went to a 10-game, conference-only schedule. Canceling the UTEP game last week left UNT with four games remaining on its schedule.

C-USA is working with UNT and UTEP officials in an effort to reschedule their game for early December. The league pushed its title game back from Dec. 5 to Dec. 18 to allow its teams to reschedule postponed games for early in the month.

UNT has implemented a series of protocols designed to prevent coronavirus infections from spreading within its athletics department. The school has tested its athletes regularly since its football players and staff members started reporting back to campus in June. UNT officials shut down campus in March.

UNT is following C-USA standards for testing football players three times per week and is also following social distancing measures. UNT has spread players out in locker rooms and limited the number of players working out in weight rooms at the same time.

Several C-USA teams have been forced to postpone games throughout the season due to coronavirus outbreaks. Marshall and Florida International postponed their game that was set to be played on Friday. FIU lacked a sufficient number of scholarship players to play the game.

BRETT VITO can be reached at 940-566-6870 and via Twitter at @brettvito.

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