Houston says ECU must “respect protocols” after team falls to Navy without several key players

Published: Oct. 20, 2020 at 4:53 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2020 at 6:51 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Several key ECU football players missed Saturday’s home game against Navy after one player tested positive for COVID-19. The Pirates ended up falling to the Midshipmen by just four points, 27-23.

Starting quarterback Holton Ahlers was the one Pirate who tested positive for COVID-19, according to a Tweet made by his brother, Griffin Ahlers. That test turned out to be a false positive.

Due to contact tracing, running backs Darius Pinnix, Jr. and Demetrius Mauney, as well as defensive lineman Damir Faison and defensive back Tank Robinson all had to sit out against Navy.

Frustration increased among Pirate Nation after legendary Alabama head coach Nick Saban also tested positive but was still able to coach on the sideline in the Crimson Tide’s 41-24 victory over Georgia.

This report by Sports Illustrated details how Saban was able to coach in-person against the Bulldogs. Before Saban ever tested positive, SEC leadership quietly voted to implement a key false positive change in the conference’s COVID-19 policy.

That change is what allowed Saban to coach. The American Athletic Conference did not make the same change, which is why Ahlers and his teammates were held out of the Pirates' game against Navy.

During Tuesday’s Zoom call with ECU head football coach Mike Houston, WITN Sports' Tyler Feldman asked how he felt about the differences in policy among conferences.

Houston says there is still one active positive case in the program, as well as a handful of other players still out due to contact tracing. However, Houston says he expects all of those players to be back practicing with the team this weekend.

The Pirates are off this week before facing Tulsa on the road next Friday, Oct. 30 at 9 p.m. on ESPN2.

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