Tennessee football incurred some false positive COVID-19 tests after open week

Blake Toppmeyer
Knoxville News Sentinel

Tennessee had multiple players miss Monday's practice because of COVID-19 testing, but those tests turned out to be false positives, coach Jeremy Pruitt said during Wednesday's SEC teleconference.

"They're back, so that was good," Pruitt said. "And I think that's happened probably all over every testing facility across the country, at times. It's the first time it's happened with us."

The third-party lab that conducts COVID-19 tests for SEC schools contacted Tennessee and notified it of the false positives, UT football spokesman Bill Martin said. Anybody in that batch of false positives was retested Monday, and those came back negative, Martin said.

Tennessee, like all other schools, did not practice Tuesday because of the NCAA's decision to mandate that election day be a day off from practice and competition

Pruitt said the players who had false positives would resume practicing Wednesday.

Tennessee regularly tests its football players three times a week, with those scheduled tests occurring on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday.

Pruitt, after Tennessee's loss to Alabama on Oct. 24, said the Vols have not had a positive test since the season started.

The football program was hit by some COVID-19 cases in August and early September, coinciding with the return of the general student population to campus, and many other players had to quarantine because of contact tracing during that time.

Blake Toppmeyer covers University of Tennessee football. Email him at and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Current subscribers can click here to join Blake's subscriber-only text group offering updates and analysis on Vols football.