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Louisville dismisses three men's soccer players after party leads to COVID-19 outbreak

The University of Louisville has dismissed three members of its men's soccer team and suspended three others as a disciplinary measure related to Saturday's off-campus party that led to 29 COVID-19 cases within the Louisville athletic department. 

According to a release, the three men's soccer players who are being dismissed have  had prior team violations and were the organizers of the party. Their names, along with the players that were suspended, were not given in the release. 

"I'm extremely disappointed in these young men and particularly with the three that have been dismissed," Louisville men's soccer head coach John Michael Hayden said. "They have demonstrated with their actions now and previously that they do not echo the culture of this program. Our student-athletes are held to a high standard of conduct as representatives of our program and university."

The 29 COVID-19 cases that were linked to that party are from four Louisville programs including both soccer programs, the volleyball team and the field hockey team. That outbreak led to the temporary shutdown of voluntary workouts and preseason practice for the four teams. Several members of the four teams tested positive for the COVID-19 virus and multiple additional student-athletes are a part of the quarantine after contact tracing.

Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra agreed with Hayden's decision to dismiss and suspend the men's soccer players. 

"It is clear that these student-athletes did not meet the code of conduct of the university or their team," Tyra said. "Ignoring the safety protocols issued by federal, state and local officials, as well as the athletic department, is unacceptable and dangerous. Their history of actions are not in alignment with the values of this university and athletics department."

This decision by Louisville comes one day after Tyra said there would be consequences for athletes who did not follow COVID-19 protocols. In a teleconference with media, after announcing the 29 positive COVID-19 cases, he said these decisions are code of conduct issues. 

He didn't go into details of how those decisions would be made, but said "If you have repeat offenders that continue to ignore any team policies we have always had the option of discipline up to dismissal." 

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This is the first time anybody has been dismissed at Louisville in relation to a COVID-19 event. But Louisville isn't the only school to discipline its students. Syracuse suspended "a group of students" after violating the state's mandatory quarantine rules, the school said. 

The party thrown at off-campus housing in Louisville on Saturday did not follow Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear's 10-person gathering limit. 

"That limit was ignored," Tyra said on Thursday. "By the contact tracing you can see by the number of positive results there was more than 10 so they didn't follow those state guidelines at all."

Cameron Teague Robinson CTeagueRob@gannett.com; Twitter: @cj_teague.

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