SUNY Brockport has suspended its collegiate wrestling program until an investigation into potential COVID-19 safety violations on the part of its members can be completed.
The program’s alleged actions, which include violations of social distancing and the college’s face covering policies, resulted in more than 50 people put into quarantine, according to Rochester-area media reports.
Two wrestling physical education classes have also been canceled for the fall semester.
“The behavior of our students, faculty and staff has been overwhelmingly positive since we have re-opened, and compliance with COVID-19 policies remains high. Unfortunately, we have learned that the wrestling program may have jeopardized the health and safety of our community, and this must be addressed,” SUNY Brockport President Heidi Macpherson said in a statement. “We are relieved that no one has become ill as a result of these alleged infractions, but risky behavior cannot go unchallenged. We are sending a loud message to the program and our entire community that such behavior will not be tolerated.”
College officials said that on Friday they learned that one of its student-athletes had contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19. The student-athlete was immediately placed into isolation, according to Rochester-area media reports.
Information then emerged of alleged violations of SUNY Brockport’s social distancing and face covering policies with the wrestling program and wrestling physical education classes, according to WXXI News.
More than 50 individuals, including members of the wrestling program and their roommates on campus, were put into precautionary quarantine. A group of off-campus wrestlers were also ordered to quarantine. All of the individuals tested negative and were released from quarantine.
The original student-athlete tested negative for the novel coronavirus responsible for COVID-19, but remains in quarantine per Monroe County Department of Health rules.
SUNY Brockport Athletic Director Erick Hart said in a statement that he supported the decision to suspend the program pending the outcome of the investigation.
“The vast majority of our student-athletes have role modeled positive behavior this semester. They have also played an active role in encouraging their classmates to do the same. We will not allow the actions of any one program to define our intercollegiate athletics program or put it at risk,” Hart said.
SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras spoke with Macpherson and later issued a statement that called the college’s actions “necessary and prudent.”
“Recently, several campuses have had to suspend athletics as a result of noncompliance of health and safety protocols. If this continues we may have to take additional SUNY-wide actions to contain the virus,” Malatras said. “We have seen how quickly this virus can spread on a college campus – and how misbehavior by a select few can impact the vast majority of students who understand what is at stake. SUNY Brockport has the support of my office as they continue their investigation.”
According to SUNY Brockport’s COVID-19 webpage, the college has no active cases on campus and one case among a fully-remote study student.