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OSU keeps COVID-19 in mind during bye week

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 03 Oklahoma State at Kansas

LAWRENCE, KS - OCTOBER 03: Oklahoma State Cowboys wide receiver Tay Martin (4) can't hold onto a pass in the fourth quarter of a Big 12 football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Kansas Jayhawks on October 3, 2020 at Memorial Stadium in Lawrence, KS. (Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire)

When the college football schedule releases, one of the first dates players and coaches look for every year is the bye week.

The players take advantage of the bye to rest their bodies and refresh their minds.

This year, they can take a break from football, but they can’t take a break from COVID-19.

Oklahoma State coaches and medical staff have surely warned the team of the risks associated with going home. In a perfect world, some may wish for them to stay put. But Mike Gundy said he doesn’t feel comfortable containing them during their time off.

Gundy knows his players are looking forward to seeing their families for the first time since the summer. He knows how valuable the mini-vacation is, but he’s concerned about the testing results when everyone returns to Stillwater on Sunday.

“I’m not going to restrict them. I’m not going to keep them here because they’ve worked hard,” Gundy said. “They’ve done what we’ve asked them to do, and I think they deserve a break. I just hope that they’ll take care of themselves.”

Taking precautions and staying safe at home will be critical.

OSU’s players come from all over the country. If there is a sizable outbreak with the virgus, OSU may need to temporarily suspend football activities, similar to what its next opponent, Baylor, has done after a few recent positive tests.

Gundy obviously doesn’t want to see that happen.

“When they go home, just try to stay away from people. You can see people and all that, but you don’t get up close to people,” Gundy said. “They know the outcome. If they don’t, then they’re not going to get to play. You got to try to do the best you can to protect the organization and protect the team.”

sports.ed@ocolly.com