TULSA, Okla. — Oklahoma Little League is disqualified from playing in the Southwest Regional Tournament after Little League International said one of their team members tested positive for COVID-19.
The decision has head coach, team, and multiple families disappointed this once in a life-time opportunity has been taken from them.
Coach Sam Treat and his team of players are in Waco, Texas. They traveled there to participate in the Southwest Regional.
Little League International required all participating teams to get tested for the COVID-19. If a player, coach, or manager tests positive, the Little League international would assess the situation, but still allow them to play if they had nine players. However, Monday, Coach Sam Treat said those rules changed. If someone tested positive in the team, the entire team would be disqualified.
“I agree, if a player or a coach has COVID, for the safety and the families of the kids, I believe that that should be an opportunity to be disqualified," Treat said.
In compliance with The Little League International COVID-19 rules, Treat and his players got tested using the saliva-testing method.
“We take a test, we hand it off to a lady, we put a label on it, they send it in and 24 hours later they tell you if you have COVID-19 or not,” Treat said.
On Friday, Treat received a phone call that changed the game for the whole team. He was notified one of his team members had tested positive for the virus.
“My natural reaction was, which player was it... and they’re like it’s you,” he said.
Coach Treat was skeptical about the positive result because he said he had been testing himself in the last two weeks and all the results had come back negative. Unsatisfied, he tested himself again. This time at an ER clinic in Waco, Texas, where he said they used the swab testing method.
“They do a COVID test on me, the guy told me it was the same COVID test they do on government officials, and it came back, and it said the results were negative, he guaranteed to me that I don’t have COVID,” Treat said.
Despite the evidence of a negative result, Little League International stood firm on its decision and released the following statement on their website, saying in part:
Little League® International has been informed of at least one positive COVID-19 test within multiple teams participating in the Little League Baseball Southwest Region Tournament. The teams impacted are the Mississippi State Champion, Oklahoma State Champion, and Texas-East State Champion.
Little League International has notified the teams that they will no longer be able to participate in the tournament. The team members and their families have been informed of all appropriate health measures to help ensure all individuals are cared for, and that appropriate isolation and quarantine efforts are being followed.
2 News Oklahoma reached out to Little League International, but they did not have an additional statements. Treat said he's frustrated his team is being sent home based on only one test result when he said he has multiple evidence that proves otherwise.
We checked with the Tulsa Health Department and they say they do not use the saliva COVID-19 testing method.
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