We’re now just a week away from Kansas State’s scheduled first kickoff for the 2020 season. But as with everything else in this annus horribilis, we’re still not entirely sure that all will proceed as planned.
— For starters, Kansas State now has two more active cases of COVID-19 on the football team after an initial report of 10 positive cases to begin the week. Having so many players unavailable for practice has made things a bit complicated for the Wildcats.
— Riley County has declared 13 total outbreaks in the area, including the Kansas State football team. Ten of the 13 outbreaks are associated with the school’s Greek system, and indeed, the county health department has banned events at Greek houses because “[r]educing the exposure opportunities from social contact is imperative for the 18-24 age group.”
— The first domino in the Big 12 has fallen. TCU has indefinitely postponed its non-conference game against SMU. The teams were scheduled to play on September 11, but several Horned Frogs players have tested positive in the latest round of testing, and TCU’s strict internal standards merited the postponement.
— In anticipation of similar events over the course of the season, the Big 12 announced its cancellation thresholds today. A team must have at least 53 players (from its entire roster) available for a game. In addition, there are additional thresholds that each unit of a team must meet. So, for example, a team must have at least seven offensive linemen available for a game. A team that falls below the thresholds can still play, but the result may not count if the game cannot be played at a later date.
— It’s not all doom and gloom for Kansas State football though. Coordinators Courtney Messingham and Joe Klanderman seem really excited about the season, and Kellis Robinett breaks with tradition and has the Wildcats losing just three games this season. (Keep the DISRESPECT meme fired up just in case though).
— Speaking of Kellis, this piece on Justin Hughes and Elijah Sullivan, high school teammates, finally suiting up and playing together for the Wildcats, is definitely worth a read.
— The BatCats are in the news. Sophomore lefty Jordan Wicks was named the 2020 Summer Breakout Prospect by DIBaseball.com. He’s been playing for the Rockford Rivets in Illinois and the Perfect Timing Red in Arkansas. He was Big 12 Freshman of the Year in 2019 and went 3-0 in 2020 before his season was cut short by the pandemic.
— Jeremy Martin, former offensive lineman for Kansas State (1994-98), passed away unexpectedly on September 1. He was 44.
For your weekend reading pleasure, here are some long (but effective) reads on the coronavirus and the current pandemic. For once, it’s mostly good news.
— Many have already seen this, but a new theory for COVID-19 has been suggested. The bradykinin hypothesis suggests that COVID-19 may be more of a vascular disease than a respiratory one. Significantly, there are several FDA-approved drugs that may can reduce bradykinin signaling and stop potentially lethal bradykinin storms.
— The Pac-12 conference announced a breakthrough rapid test protocol, partnering with Quidel Corporation. The arrangement could allow Pac-12 teams to return to competition sooner than originally planned, although not in the coming weeks.
— Atul Gawande writes with his usual eloquence on how we can beat our current testing woes and maybe adopt a new approach to public health. (Kansas State football gets an unexpected—and also unfortunate—mention in the article).
— Finally, news out of Iceland suggests that antibodies may be detectable long after a person recovers from COVID-19. In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 91.1% of those tested produced detectable levels of antibodies four months after recovery. This is probably good news for vaccine efficacy.
There’s already a nip in the air here, so fall—and hopefully college football—are close at hand. Fingers crossed. Have a great weekend!