North Carolina suspends athletic activities as positive coronavirus tests rise

The University of North Carolina announced Wednesday that it was temporarily suspending all athletic activities, including football practice, until at least 5 p.m. ET on Thursday because of a continued upward trend in positive COVID-19 tests on campus.

"After consulting with our health experts and university leadership, we are taking this action to protect our students, coaches and staff," UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said. "We want to make sure we continue to do everything we can to ensure that our teams, campus and community remain healthy."

UNC announced Monday, one week after the university began classes, that all undergraduate courses would be moving online after various clusters of coronavirus infections occurred. The university asked that students living in on-campus residence halls move home but added that athletes, international students, ROTC students and students with hardships would be allowed the option to stay on campus.

North Carolina coach Mack Brown said on Tuesday during a call with reporters that he felt like the university's move to full-time remote learning would help the football team and "create a better seal around our program and a better bubble."

Brown said that most of his players were already enrolled in online courses and noted that they were accustomed to remote instruction because that's all they've done since March.

On Tuesday, UNC announced that 177 students were in isolation and another 349 students were in quarantine because of potential exposure.

North Carolina is scheduled to open its football season on Sept. 12 against Syracuse, and Brown said Tuesday he has made sure to communicate and be transparent with all of his players and parents.