UCLA football player tests positive, then negative for COVID-19

UCLA coach Chip Kelly looks on in the second half during a game against Utah on Nov. 16, 2019, in Salt Lake City.
UCLA coach Chip Kelly looks on during a 2019 game. A Bruins player’s positive COVID-19 test this week was the first such result from the team in more than a month, but that player then tested negative.
(Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

A UCLA football player who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week has tested negative through more sophisticated follow-up testing but must receive a second negative result before being cleared to rejoin the team, according to a person with knowledge of the situation who was not authorized to disclose the results publicly because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The player has entered isolation for 10 days from the date of the first test or until the verification of a false positive. A handful of close contacts from the team have been placed in quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact or until the false positive is confirmed, the person with knowledge of the situation said.

It was the first positive test result from the team in more than a month and came as a result of antigen testing. Follow-up PCR testing that is considered more sensitive and reliable returned a negative result.


UCLA redshirt freshman running back Jahmon McClendon has entered the transfer portal and will not return, coach Chip Kelly said.

False positives have become an increasingly common theme across college football. Alabama coach Nick Saban was deemed to have recorded a false positive recently, and five Oregon players who initially tested positive for COVID-19 last week were allowed to return to the team after follow-up PCR testing confirmed the results were false positives.

Over the last week, UCLA has conducted 923 antigen and 325 PCR tests in its athletics population, with zero positive PCR results and one positive antigen result from the football player. Since the school started testing in late June, it has given 5,663 tests that have yielded one positive antigen and 16 positive PCR results among athletes, coaches and staff.

Hours before the latest positive result was announced, Bruins coach Chip Kelly had hailed his team’s ability to safely navigate training camp while acknowledging the possibility of things changing at any moment.

“We could get a case tomorrow and contact tracing wipes out more people,” Kelly said. “As I’ve said before, this is an hour to hour thing.”