The Arizona Wildcats have suspended redshirt junior offensive lineman Edgar Burrola for violating the athletic department’s protocols related to COVID-19, according to Michael Lev of the Arizona Daily Star.
Burrola, who started six games at right tackle in 2019, has reportedly been resistant to safety protocols, including wearing a mask and practicing social distancing during voluntary offseason workouts.
This led to a “reduction” of his scholarship in the form of his meal plan being taken away, something Burrola first noted on his Twitter page on Monday, where he’s also shared claims that Arizona is forcing football players to work out during a pandemic while also expressing skepticism over the severity of the coronavirus.
The Las Vegas native, who underwent shoulder surgery in January, has alleged on Twitter his scholarship was reduced for bringing up concerns about his safety, though he later admitted the reduction (and suspension) was due to violating COVID protocols.
“I did ‘break the rules’ but there’s a lot more to that story,” Burrola tweeted. “I got something coming.”
The Pac-12 announced earlier this month it would honor all scholarships for athletes that opted out of competition over safety concerns.
“There’s some people that are saying that we’re making guys do this, we’re making guys do that,” coach Kevin Sumlin told the Star, not addressing Burrola directly. “What we are making them do is go through the protocol. And if you’re not gonna adhere to the protocol, then we can’t have you here. It’s my job to protect and uphold that protocol for everybody else that’s involved in this organization — players, coaches, administrators, medical (personnel). You’ve got coaches’ families. If you’re not gonna pay attention to the protocol, wear a mask, all that other stuff, we just can’t have you around.”
Arizona has reported three positive tests among football players since they began returning in June. The school “paused” its student-athlete re-entry plan in late June due to Pima County’s high COVID-19 case count, though voluntary workouts have continued. A source has indicated the remaining football players, mostly newcomers, are set to begin arriving in Tucson next week.
There’s no word on when official preseason practice would begin, however. The Pac-12 is reportedly planning on a 10-game conference-only schedule that could be announced later this week.