USC says one of its athletes tested positive for COVID-19

A statue of Tommy Trojan stands over the USC campus.
Some local athletes were allowed to return to USC on Wednesday for voluntary workouts.
(Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

One USC student-athlete has tested positive for COVID-19, the school said in a statement Friday.

The news comes after the Trojans began letting some local players return to campus Wednesday for voluntary summer workouts. Before they were allowed on campus, they had to take a COVID-19 test. The school said it tested 69 players, including 56 from the football team, and that one came back positive. The school did not disclose what sport the athlete plays.

“One student-athlete who was experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 tested positive and is in isolation,” the school said. “This student-athlete had not yet begun voluntary workouts. All others tested were negative. USC will continue to closely monitor and conduct regular testing of any student-athletes returning to voluntary workouts.”


USC is still in the first phase of its plan to restart sports amid the novel coronavirus outbreak. Currently only players on the football, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s water polo teams who attended USC last year and reside within a one-hour commute of campus are being allowed to return.

The life of former USC and Chargers center Max Tuerk will be celebrated during a “paddle out” ceremony in Dana Point on Saturday.

June 25, 2020

A COVID-19 test is one of several pre-participation requirements athletes must complete before beginning activities. The school said in a Tuesday statement that its athletic department’s medical staff “will make the final determination on a student-athlete’s clearance to participate in voluntary workouts.”

In addition to the 56 football players, nine members of the men’s water polo team, three members of the women’s soccer team and one member of the men’s basketball team also underwent COVID-19 tests.

The Trojans previously stated that any athlete who tests positive for COVID-19 will receive medical treatment and be required to isolate until cleared. The school is providing quarantine housing and will also use contact tracing to determine if others had been exposed.

“The reality is that we expect to have positive tests and outbreaks in our university community, including in Athletics,” USC’s chief medical officer Dr. Sarah Van Orman said in a statement this week, before the positive test was announced. “We have been very thorough in planning for such occurrences and to prevent the spread of the virus. Our medical and planning team has done an outstanding job in preparing protocols and procedures for a variety of scenarios related to COVID-19. We are committed to protecting the health and safety of our USC community.”


The second phase of the Trojans’ return-of-athletics plan is targeted for July 6 (the arrival of non-local returning athletes in the six sports listed above). The third phase is supposed to begin July 13 (the arrival of new and incoming student-athletes in those sports). The return plans for student-athletes in all other sports remains undecided.

The United Black Student Athletes Assn. was formed to urge USC “to take bold, decisive action to combat racial inequality and support Black students.”

June 17, 2020