“This is the new normal,” Kunsi said. “This is how it will be. These are the protocols, and how everything will be prepared for our trips.”
Sports director Mark Nutt told The News on Friday that the University of Buffalo soccer program has not had a positive test for a player or employee for Covid-19 since early October.
Riding the bus requires testing for athletes, coaches, coaches and soccer personnel. Players sit next to their roommates on flights. On buses, players are required to sit by windows rather than along aisles and cannot eat meals on the bus. Meeting rooms at the team hotel are also spaced apart, for social distancing. The same applies to eating with teammates, where the bulls eat three-player meals at a table and in shifts.
Roommates on road trips aren’t random or fool-proof either. Roommates are assigned based on players testing for Covid-19 at the same time, usually another person in the player’s site pool.
“This is probably the most different thing we’ve encountered,” Vantress said. “This is one of those things that everyone is used to, in the world we live in now. You are kind of used to adapting to things that you weren’t going through.”
When the Bulls learned in September that the MAC would be playing college football this season, the Sports Department created a return to competition proposal that included travel protocols for UB’s three-way games.
The proposal, which The News got through a Freedom of Information Act request, stipulated that the soccer team would take a Covid-19 test the morning after their first leg. Returning to campus from an out-of-state trip, Bowles initially had to stay in what was called a “bubble” for a week, which meant not attending in-person class and monitoring Covid-19 test results.