STILLWATER, Okla. — The unsettling scenes of maskless college students packed into bars and parties at Oklahoma State went viral during the weekend, bringing a striking view of realism to the potential future of college football.
Players can try to protect themselves, but they still have to share classrooms with students who will take part in regular college life like those in the videos amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy declined to address the videos of the party scene directly, but spoke to some of the protections his program has put in place for its players.
Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy at Big 12 Media Days in 2019. (Photo: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports)
“I’m gonna say that 75 percent of our guys will be nine of 12 hours or 12 of 15 online, just from the number of classes that will be offered on campus because of the situation we’re in,” Gundy said Monday morning in his first interview with Oklahoma media since April. “We will have guys on campus, but it won’t be the near number of guys that would be on campus as to other years. Some of that is university choice. Some of it is by player.
“But it will be different than it has been, based on the situation that we’re all put on with the virus.”
Gundy said he and his staff have taken into account anything they can think of to protect players, from roommate pairings to the size of group meetings, among other things.
“All the different areas to protect each other from the virus, with masks and different meeting rooms and living arrangements and the way we eat — it’s been very unusual,” Gundy said. “Our medical team with our doctors and trainers and staff have been fantastic and have put us in a position that is somewhat unbelievable with where we’re at right now.”
Gundy was mostly reserved on Monday, keeping many of his answers short. He declined to talk about his $1 million per year pay cut, which athletic director Mike Holder said last month was Gundy’s idea.
And Gundy kept his comments brief on the topic of changes that have been made to his personal approach to coaching or to the program after a controversial summer that revealed a disconnect between the players and their head coach.
“Oh, nothing more than listening to the players and getting back into a routine,” he said.
Asked to elaborate, Gundy had little to add.
“Not really anything honestly,” he said. “We’re back to normal around here and we’re up and running, just looking forward to the season.”