So, if you’re a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at UCSF who’s also a college football fan and you think there’s a way to play this fall, how would you recommend programs go about doing that?
According to Rutherford, it takes three days for someone who has been exposed to the virus to start shedding it (i.e., become contagious).
So testing players 72 hours before kickoff (Wednesday afternoon or evening) would be ideal for Saturday games.
At the same time, an exposed individual could become contagious 36 hours after testing negative — so testing only on Wednesday wouldn’t be enough.
Players would need to be tested again Saturday morning, Rutherford said, to ensure that no viral shedding would occur on game day from players who tested negative in the middle of the week.
(The timing of the Saturday tests would depend on the turnaround time for results and the kickoff time.)
“From a physiological standpoint, you’d need to do it as close to the game as possible,’’ he said.
Test them Wednesday afternoon, test them again Saturday morning — and the windows for contagion should be slammed shut on game day.
Add a test on Monday morning to cover early-week interactions in meetings and practice, and full containment could be possible.
And the cost?
Let’s assume 150 tests for players, coaches and support staff, with each person tested three times per week over the 20 weeks of training camp and the regular season.
And let’s assume $50 per test (which could be high once capacity increases).
That’s $450,000 from August through November — or about 0.6 percent of the total annual revenue generated by a Power Five football program.
That doesn’t seem crazy to me. I wonder how many programs will meet that standard, though. (And of the ones that don’t, how many are on Georgia’s schedule.)