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Two more Notre Dame football players test positive for COVID-19 – Notre Dame Insider

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Two more Notre Dame football players tested positive for COVID-19 this week. The Irish program has totaled four positive tests of the 619 tests administered since the team returned to campus in June.

Tribune File Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN

Two more Notre Dame football players have tested positive for COVID-19, the program announced Wednesday.

Before the Irish took the field for Wednesday’s first practice of preseason camp, both players were isolated. One was mildly symptomatic. The other was asymptomatic. Notre Dame also quarantined seven other asymptomatic players as a result of contact tracing.

The football program’s latest round of testing Monday included 117 players and 43 staff members. Since testing began in June, four players have accounted for positive test results out of the 619 tests administered for a 0.64% positivity rate.

The two players who previously tested positive in June and July recovered and returned to team activities. Notre Dame has not disclosed the identities of the players who have tested positive.

On Wednesday morning before the test results were announced, head coach Brian Kelly and defensive end Daelin Hayes joined the TODAY show to explain why the Irish are pushing forward with football a day after the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences called off their fall seasons.

The ACC, in which the Irish will compete this season, has yet to back off its previously announced schedule. Notre Dame’s season opener against Duke is set for Sept. 12.

TODAY anchor Craig Melvin asked Kelly and Hayes two questions each during a five-minute segment. No Notre Dame coaches or players were made available to local media on the first day of preseason camp.

Kelly said his team can safely navigate the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic with the guidance of medical staff, low rates of positives tests within the team and on campus and the commitment of his players and staff to follow the procedures in place.

“We have enhanced medical care,” Kelly said. “We’re very intentional about what we’re doing, and we believe that we can play safely and care for everybody including our staff now. This is not just about the players. I have over 50 staff members that are put into this situation as well.”

Hayes, a graduate student entering his fifth season with the Irish, made his stance clear Monday by signing an open letter with nine other offseason captains on the team that expressed their desire to play football this fall.

On the TODAY show, Hayes said the medical staff has been readily available and transparent with Notre Dame’s players. That’s why he believes the mental and physical health of the players is in a better place with a season taking place.

“We feel comfortable,” Hayes said. “We feel confident that we can play in a season working in tandem with our coaches and medical staff. Ultimately, it comes down to the players and their decisions every day. Having the incentive to play and the discipline that it requires to be on a team and make the right decisions outside of our bubble, it’s going to honestly fare well for us.”

Melvin pressed Hayes on the criticism that players wanting to play now are focused on pursuing their NFL dream and not the long-term picture.

“Unfortunately, I feel like you’re just as at risk anywhere right now,” Hayes said. “Whether it be going to the grocery store or going out to eat, unfortunately that’s just the reality of our situation. But I would rather take that risk playing the game that I love and fighting for my career once I leave Notre Dame.

“A lot of guys feel that way. A lot of people expressed that sentiment, especially players across the country in their last and/or junior years.”

Once Notre Dame increases physical contact in its practices, the breadth of contact tracing will have to expand. Kelly said his program is prepared for that.

“When you are in contact, there is no other way to look at it but everybody is in contact,” Kelly said. “We understand that we must trust each other. That’s why this is a unique situation where you are putting yourself in a position where you trust the guy next to you. That’s why testing is so important in this process.

“There has to be transparency with the other teams that you’re playing across the board. That when you line up against them, you know that they are following through with the same testing procedures.

“We said that at the outset. This is a difficult process, but it’s one that we’re committed to and one that our players are committed to. Enhanced testing has to be part of this procedure as well.”

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Navy to Host Notre Dame Football Game for 1st Time in 94 Years Due to COVID-19 – Bleacher Report

Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry (1src) is tackled by Notre Dame linebacker Drew White (4src) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2src19, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Darron Cummings/Associated Press

The Notre Dame vs. Navy college football game originally scheduled for Aug. 29 in Dublin, Ireland, has been moved because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The University of Notre Dame announced Tuesday that the game will likely take place Labor Day weekend, which runs from Sept. 5 through Sept. 7, and it will be played at Navy’s Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland.

This year’s game will mark the 94th consecutive year Notre Dame and Navy have met, and it will be the first time that one of their games takes place at Navy’s home stadium. All previous meetings in which Navy was the home team occurred at neutral sites.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick released the following statement regarding the decision to move the game back stateside:

“Our student-athletes have had great experiences competing in Ireland and are very disappointed not to be returning to Dublin in 2020. The change of venue has been a very difficult decision for our colleagues at the Naval Academy, but we are in full support of their choice. We are also grateful for everything our partners in Ireland have done to make this a smooth transition. We look forward to going back to Ireland for a game in the not too distant future.”

This year’s game would have marked the third meeting between Notre Dame and Navy in Ireland after previously playing there in 1996 and 2012. The Fighting Irish won handily on both occasions.

The Irish have largely dominated their rivalry against Navy with a 77-13-1 record. They also won two additional games that were later vacated because of NCAA penalties.

Notre Dame owns a three-game winning streak over Navy, and it has won eight of the past nine meetings. Last year, the Fighting Irish decimated the Midshipmen 52-20 in what was a home game for Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

Question marks surround whether the 2020 college football season will start on time and if fans will be permitted to attend games because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Notre Dame vs. Navy had been scheduled to be the first official game of the 2020 season, but if the season starts on time, that likely won’t be the case any longer since other games are scheduled for Aug. 29.

Bleacher Report’s David Gardner interviews athletes and other sports figures for the podcast How to Survive Without Sports.

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