Football players at the University of Miami in Florida are being tasked with patrolling campus and enforcing the school’s mask mandate.
That includes being encouraged to take photos of student mask infractions and report them to coaches.
The rebellious football team that shocked the world by sidestepping polite college football etiquette in the 1980s, and won championships while doing so, has embraced Miami-Dade County’s very strict health mandates during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Palm Beach Post reported Tuesday that amid the health situation, the culture of ‘Canes football has shifted toward one of compliance.
That is exactly the way second-year Miami Hurricanes head coach Manny Diaz wants it to be.
“We’re trying to be the leaders of wearing masks on campus,” Diaz told The Post.
“My guys take pictures of guys that don’t wear masks and send it to us,” he added. “Our guys understand what the standard is and how much their teammates are depending on them.”
The Post indicated that players are glad to take part in any activity which might preserve the 2020 football season. While several Power Five conferences have canceled their fall football seasons, the ACC, which the Hurricanes compete in, has not done so.
Senior linebacker Zach McCloud told the newspaper the football team wants to set a good example for others on campus in Coral Gables.
“Right now, the best thing we could do is be a model to other students on campus,” he said.
“Making sure everybody’s staying safe,” McCloud added.
Citing a surge in cases on the campus of in-conference rivals at the University of North Carolina, Diaz said his players want to prevent an outbreak at Miami.
On UNC’s Chapel Hill campus, a 13.6 percent positive test rate among the 954 students who were tested for the coronavirus led administrators to switch UNC’s curriculum to online-only this week, according to USA Today.
Diaz said his players are well aware of the potential for an outbreak on Miami’s campus.
“We have been in a place where we’ve understood what the numbers have been out there. I don’t know how alarmed we should be if any part of the country pops 12 percent positive rate. Not that that’s good and nobody’s rooting for that, but that is the reality of this virus. We’re fighting against that number every week,” he said.
Diaz also suggested to The Post that he considers masks to be an extension of safety equipment already worn by players.
“Our guys just practiced, and it had to be over 100-degree heat index out there,” he said.
“This was our first morning practice, and it was blazing out there. If they can run around in a helmet and shoulder pads, I promise you pretty much anyone can walk around wearing a mask,” Diaz added.
“That’s the easiest thing we can do.”
For now, Miami football is preparing for a Sept. 10 matchup against the University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers as part of the school’s modified schedule.
All indications so far are that the 2020 college football season will go forward in the fall for the ACC, the Big 12 and the SEC.
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