Opinion: Steve Addazio in hot water at Colorado State for not following COVID protocol

A report surfaced yesterday by Kevin Lytle of the Coloradoan that players at Colorado State are being told not to follow COVID-19 protocol by Steve Addazio and his staff.

The program hit pause after 11 players tested positive for COVID-19. According to Lytle’s report, the coaching staff is altering trace contact reporting, persuading players to come back before the full 14 days of quarantine, and threatening players with reduced playing time if they report symptoms. 

Addazio and athletic director Joe Parker released a statement reassuring those within and outside the program that they are indeed following COVID-19 protocols.

We have developed a comprehensive COVID-19 prevention plan in collaboration with the University’s Pandemic Preparedness Team which includes specific, strictly enforced processes and procedures to build and maintain a culture of safety, compliance and responsibility to all members of the football program and the community.

The health and welfare of our student-athletes on the Colorado State football team is our top priority, and I fully support President McConnell’s investigation into concerns about whether these protocols were properly followed by everyone involved with our program. We want every student-athlete to have confidence that we are taking every possible measure to ensure their safety, and we will continue working with the training staff, the athletic department and the University to evaluate and implement any additional steps necessary to live up to our high standards.”

Addazio and his staff have had current players in the program come to his their defense. Most notably center Cam Reddy and Scott Patchen. Both have previous ties to Addazio.

Regardless of how this plays out, it is certainly a bad look for Addazio and the program. Addazio already had a reputation of being tough, demanding and to a certain degree, unreasonable at Boston College. This incident doesn’t help his reputation.

It is hard enough to get players focused on preparing for a season in this kind of environment. Not feeling safe or reassured they will be safe makes things even harder.

I hope for their sake and to a certain extent, Addazio’s sake that the story is false because if it is true, Addazio is toast and so is the Colorado State football season.