Oklahoma Gives Glimpse Into Rigorous COVID-Era ProtocolsColumns
Greg Tipton, the baseball administrator at the University of Oklahoma, has seen a lot in his 30 years as a member of the Sooners athletic department.
Nothing prepared him for the coronavirus and its fallout in the college athletics, and particularly, college baseball, world.
Just before the season ended back in March, Tipton, OU baseball director of operations Ryan Gaines and head coach Skip Johnson had unofficial plans for the month of June. The Sooners were coming off a terrific three-day performance at the Shriners College Classic, a tournament that culminated with Dane Acker throwing a no-hitter against LSU.
Oklahoma had an Omaha caliber club, and that was to be the plan for mid-to-late June.
Then, coronavirus arrived stateside with a vengeance.
College baseball was cancelled. The College World Series was cancelled. College athletics were cancelled.
Our norms as a society were interrupted, and administrators, while not knowing the full scale and severity of COVID-19 at the time, were forced to recalibrate and prepare for an unknown world.
Every athletic department has disaster plans. But dealing with a pandemic? That wasn’t exactly in the playbook … until now.
“Every athletic department has emergency plans … but I don’t think anyone was prepared for the detail of this and what we’re now dealing with,” Tipton said. “The way things have evolved — mask, no mask — things like that, it has all changed so quickly.
“We’ve all had to be very flexible and pivot,” he continued. “I’ve been a part of this ongoing process with our entire athletics department since everything got rolling in April. It’s literally changed hour-to-hour and we’ve gotten great guidance from our doctor, Dr. Brock Schnebel, and head trainer Scott Anderson. We’ve worked pretty much every day on these protocols, and I’d say we hit the spot we needed to hit by the end of June. Everyone knows Joe Castiglione’s calm and steady presence, and he’s been leading us through these times since day one.”
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