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Iowa Wrestling: Head Coach Tom Brands tests positive for Covid-19


Big Ten Championship Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images

This is from USA Wrestling via an Iowa Athletic Communication release:

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head wrestling coach Tom Brands has tested positive for COVID-19. Brands tested positive during his regularly scheduled rapid antigen test Wednesday morning, followed by a PCR test to confirm the diagnosis.

Brands is asymptomatic and will remain home until Feb. 13. Wrestlers, coaches, and staff members are tested daily as part of the Big Ten Conference return to play protocols.

Iowa wrestles Sunday in West Lafayette, Indiana, against Purdue and Ohio State.

“Our guys are preparing for competition just as they always do. We are ready to go,” Brands said. “I will continue to work remotely. We have a good thing going and we are going to keep moving forward. Right now our focus is on Purdue and Ohio State.”

The top-ranked Hawkeyes are 3-0 this season with five Big Ten duals remaining on the schedule. The Big Ten Championships are March 6-7. The NCAA Championships are March 18-20.

On Jan. 31st news broke that our #1 ranked 165lber, Alex Marinelli, was entering the Covid-19 quarantine protocols, now five days later we receive this gut-punch. The good news is these guys appear to be doing alright and are expected to be back by mid-February.

Unfortunately, that means they’re both going to miss three upcoming duals. Sunday against Purdue and #9 Ohio State and the following Friday, Feb. 12, against #5 Penn State. This is a rough stretch to be without our middleweight hammer and our fearless head honcho.

It’s fantastic news that no lingering effects have been reported (so I’m led to believe they’re doing fine), but this does lead to concerns, especially with a relatively small roster of coaches and athletes. Currently we have 32 wrestlers and 6 coaches/ support staff listed on the roster. I am not privy to the testing information or the number of tests administered but based solely off the roster that leaves us with a 5.26% positivity rate.

According to the Big Ten’s “Test Positivity Rate” chart that puts us into Kenny Loggins’ territory, which we clearly aren’t there. Obviously, there’s more tests that we’re unaware of, whether that be additional staff or Hawkeye Wrestling Club members that train with our college level athletes.

We’re not in danger yet of missing the Big Ten’s or NCAA’s, but this a precarious part of the season to have an outbreak, regardless of size. A few more positive tests could sway those numbers into that ugly red area, which, well, would suck. The next four of five days is going to be paramount in getting through this setback and still leaving us in good shape for a championship run.

I want to reiterate, the alarm bells AREN’T ringing, but this is something to keep an eye on.

Terry Brands is likely to fill in until his twin returns.

As always, if anyone has any information, please drop it into the comments.