Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy apologizes for comments about bringing players back in early May

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy issued an apology on Saturday for comments he made during a teleconference earlier in the week. Gundy said during the teleconference that he was hoping to get players and staff back on campus on May 1

“I have been made aware that comments from my press conference have offended some,” Gundy said in a statement. “It was never my intention to offend anyone, and I apologize. My first priority is and will always be the student-athletes and doing what is best for the program and the university.”

The problem with Gundy’s comments stemmed not just from the fact that the Big 12 had suspended all team activities through May 31, but that he seemed to take a cavalier approach when it came to the prospective health of the players.

“In my opinion, if we have to bring our players back, test them. They’re in good shape, they’re all 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 years old, they’re healthy. A lot of them can fight it off with their natural body, the antibodies, and build that they have. There’s some people that are asymptomatic.”

Gundy also touched another third rail topic by saying that getting football back would be good for the local economy.

“We need to continue to budget and run money through the state of Oklahoma,” said Gundy.

While that’s true in part, it touched a nerve when it comes to student-athletes and the compensation (or lack thereof) that they receive. In essence, Gundy was saying that in order to boost the local economy in Oklahoma, they needed to risk the health of student-athletes. It’s hard to imagine that was his intent, but that’s how it came across to many.

Oklahoma State released a statement on Tuesday evening, shortly after Gundy’s comments caused a firestorm.

“Everyone wants to return to some degree of normalcy as soon as possible. As for Oklahoma State University,  we will adhere to the advice of public health experts who are making informed decisions in the best interest of the citizens of our nation and state based on sound scientific data.  We will also abide by the federal and state mandates as well as Big 12 guidelines. We will not compromise the health and well-being of our campus community. This virus is deadly and we will do our part at Oklahoma State to help blunt the spread.”