Eastern Kentucky kicker quits, says coaches ‘do not care about player safety’ during COVID-19 pandemic

Eastern Kentucky kicker Landon White quit the program on Tuesday over concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and levied some serious and concerning allegations against his former coaches in the process.

Colonels coach Walt Wells and his staff, White said in an Instagram post, “do not care about player safety.”

EKU kicker calls out coaches over COVID-19

White said that the last time the team was tested for the coronavirus was on July 6 despite fall camp starting last week. He also said that there are players exhibiting symptoms related to the coronavirus “still in the building and around other teammates,” and that the team still held practice the same day they realized that players had symptoms instead of stopping and isolating.

“There are meeting rooms with 100+ players and staff crammed into it with zero space and no social distancing rules in sight,” White wrote. “There are a bunch of potential positives in there. The Player cafeteria (case dining hall) endangers the EKU Cafeteria staff as well as other students who are now on campus, masks are routinely not worn while players are constantly being reminded by the dining hall staff instead of our coaches to keep it on.”

White then called out Wells — who was hired in December after a two-year stint as an assistant at Kentucky — directly.

“The head coach knows and the head coach does nothing,” he wrote. “The head coach does not care about his players safety as well as his staff and his families.

“He cares about the [$500,000] we are about to earn by playing [West Virginia] in Morgantown at the end of the month. The truth has to be told and I’ll be your guy.”

White also cited his family’s safety — he has two pregnant sisters, four young nieces and nephews, and grandparents he’s worried about — as reasons why he doesn’t want to play this fall.

[ Coronavirus: How the sports world is responding to the pandemic ]

There were nearly 4.8 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Tuesday night, according to The New York Times, and more than 157,000 deaths attributed to it. Kentucky had more than 33,000 cases.

White’s complaints aren’t completely unique in the college football world. Ten Colorado State players and staff members contacted The Coloradoan on Tuesday with concerns about how the athletic department is handling the coronavirus, and accused the school of a “cover-up.”

Several schools, including Colorado State, have stopped workouts due to outbreaks within the team. Ohio State, Kansas, Kansas State and Northwestern, among others, have paused after positive tests, and Rutgers and Michigan State even quarantined their entire programs.

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