WKU Athletic Director optimistic about fall sports

Leo Bertucci

As multiple collegiate athletic programs and conferences reshape their fall sports schedules, WKU hopes that its teams, including the football team, can compete this fall.

During a press conference, Athletic Director Todd Stewart told reporters that he is “optimistic” that there will be a football season this fall.

“First and foremost, our players want to play,” Stewart said. “They are very excited to be back on campus.They’ve made it abundantly clear that they want to play.”

Even though the football team’s Sept. 12 matchup against Indiana University was cancelled, Stewart said that WKU is still trying to play a 12-game schedule this season.

“I’m a fan of the way things are, and that’s the 12-game season,” Stewart said. “But that being said, I am a fan of a football season being played under a different format, versus no football season being played. So, if things change and they look a little bit different, but we’re still able to have a season, for me that’s still a lot better than having no season.”

So far there has not been a WKU student-athlete who has chosen to not participate in their sport, Stewart said.

“(COVID-19 is) very serious, obviously, but I think knowing what we know today, along with the attitudes of everybody that’s involved, it at least gives us a plan on how we might move forward.”

Stewart said that WKU will continue to test students for the coronavirus if they have symptoms related to the virus or if they request to have one. This week, WKU announced that it had tested 183 student-athletes and 110 athletics staff members for COVID-19 antibodies. One staff member who tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies also tested positive for an asymptomatic case of the active virus.

“We’re doing more testing as we move forward, certainly as we get closer to playing games,” Stewart said.

If fans can attend football games at Houchens-Smith Stadium this fall, they might be required to undergo a temperature check when they arrive, Stewart said. Fans would be required to adhere to social distancing guidelines in the stadium.

“I think a season, however it looks, is better than no season, and I think fans, under whatever the protocols are, are better than no fans at all, so hopefully that’s something that we’re talking about six weeks from now,” Stewart said.