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3 University of Louisville soccer players kicked off team after party where coronavirus spread

The three students organized a party that officials have said was the source of a rash of cases among student-athletes

Three University of Louisville soccer players have been kicked off the men's team for organizing a party over the weekend that officials believe was the source for a rash of COVID-19 cases, the school said.

Three others were suspended.

The dismissed athletes, who were not identified in a university statement Thursday, are believed to be "primarily responsible" for the off-campus party that was called the primary source of 29 infections among the men's and women's soccer teams as well as the field hockey and volleyball teams.

The university shut down all activities related to those four sports because of the cases and possible exposure.

"It is clear that these student-athletes did not meet the code of conduct of the university or their team," the university's athletic director, Vince Tyra, said in a statement. "Ignoring the safety protocols issued by federal, state and local officials, as well as the athletic department, is unacceptable and dangerous."

The three dismissed players had past team violations, the university said.

"I'm extremely disappointed in these young men and particularly with the three that have been dismissed," men's soccer head coach John Michael Hayden said in a statement.

Universities around the nation have been deciding how or if to return to in-person instruction and how to handle athletics amid the coronavirus pandemic.

This week, the University of Connecticut canceled its upcoming football season. The NCAA announced that playoffs would not be held for its lowest tier, Division III, and that Division II championships would also be canceled.

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The University of Louisville, which had a student body of around 22,600 last year, plans to reopen its campus to students in the fall, and welcome week is scheduled for later this month.

But there will be changes and some courses are now online, and there will be fewer students on campus in the fall than in the past, the university has said.

More than 33,000 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Kentucky, with 760 deaths, according to the state health department's website.

On July 27, Gov. Andy Beshear ordered bars closed for two weeks and other measures, citing a surge of cases.

Earlier in July, state officials pulled back on guidance on the size of social gatherings, again limiting them to 10 people or less.