The University of Iowa Athletic Department has spent more than $230,000 since June putting about 180 COVID-19-positive student-athletes up in hotel rooms and paying for their food.
The total includes $192,713 on 1,665 nights in an undisclosed Iowa City area hotel between June 1 and Sept. 30, according to data the Athletics Department provided after a Gazette request.
On six occasions, or 48 night stays, student-athletes shared rooms. Deducting that from the total night stays amounts to 1,617, which divided by the total cost comes to about $120 per room per night.
The UI paid another $40,983 on per diem payments for student-athlete food while they were in hotel isolation.
UI Housing and Dining has made 250 to 300 residence hall rooms across campus available for students to use for quarantine and isolation. But Andy Peterson, a UI pediatrician and head team physician, said the Athletic Department decided to have most student-athletes stay in the hotel because they live off campus with other student-athletes.
“While not all student-athletes are directed to a hotel, in many cases this has been determined as the ideal location for isolation and reducing additional contact with a roommate/teammate,” he said in an email.
COVID-19 has pummeled college sports program across the country. The UI Athletics Department in September projected a $75 million deficit for this year, primarily due to lost TV revenue from football.
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Athletic Director Gary Barta cut four sports — men’s tennis, men’s and women’s swimming and diving, and men’s gymnastics — Aug. 21. Supporters of these sports have raised about $3 million to save the sports, but so far haven’t gotten traction with Athletics administrators.
Not only is there lost revenue, but programs must spend more on testing and protective equipment to try to keep student-athletes safe.
UI student-athletes with positive COVID-19 tests stayed from one night to 15 nights in the hotel, records show. The median stay was 10 nights.
This is consistent with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations that someone who tested positive for the disease may stop isolating 10 days after symptoms first appeared, at least 24 hours with no fever and most other symptoms are improving.
“We are following the guidance of our medical professionals that have required a 10-day isolation for those individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, and a 14-day quarantine for those individuals who have been identified as having close contact with a known positive,” said Barbara Burke, deputy athletic director.
The UI can’t release the names of student-athletes who have tested positive for COVID-19 because of student privacy and medical privacy laws, but some players have shared the information.
Men’s basketball player Jordan Bohannon said he and six other teammates tested positive for the disease in early August, the Des Moines Register reported. Bohannon, a senior, said he had a fever, chills and vomiting.
“I couldn’t even lay my