Tennessee Vols morning report: Coronavirus updates, Ramon Foster retires

Coronavirus updates for the Tennessee Vols and Pittsburgh Steelers lineman Ramon Foster retiring lead our Volunteers news for Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

Just one week ago, the Tennessee Vols were flooded with news. Now, however, everything is quiet. The coronavirus has completely changed the outlook of the entire sports world, and part of that requires us to bring you updates on it that may not even be related to sports. After all, we have to see how everything goes.

With all sporting events suspended, recruiting on hold and spring practice for football on hold, our morning update on Rocky Top does indeed lead with more COVID-19 news. This time, it relates to the school specifically, but UT academic news at this point is going to directly impact sports news, so we have to cover it.

In addition to that, we have quotes from two Vol coaches and Big Orang Country’s athletic director about the situation. Finally, an overachiever in the NFL who cut his teeth in Vol Nation finally retiring is a lead story. So we’ve still got some big news. Let’s start with the new updates related to the school from the coronavirus.

UT classes to go online for rest of semesterPatrick Brown, GoVols247

How this affects Tennessee Vols athletics, more specifically football recruiting and spring practice, remains to be seen. But the university confirmed on Monday that it would take all classes online for the rest of the semester, and yes, that’s relevant to the sports program.

Commencement ceremonies will be canceled as well. UT previously announced it would go to online-only classes through at least April 3, or the first two weeks of the semester after spring break this week. Monday’s announcement followed Tennessee Governor Bill Lee earlier in the day urging all public school districts in the state to close “as soon as practically possible” and remain closed through at least the end of March to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Coaches, Phillip Fulmer speak on coronavirus impact – Vol Calls, UTSports

Both coaches for the Tennessee Vols basketball programs, men’s head coach Rick Barnes and Lady Vols head coach Kellie Harper, spoke about their seasons being canceled on Vol Calls Monday amid the COVID-19 outbreak. UT athletic director Phillip Fulmer also spoke about the situation. Here’s a bit of what Fulmer said.

“It was almost surreal how fast everything continued to change. We made a decision to play the games and allow fans in. A bit later [we decided] to play the game and not allow fans in, and obviously the next day it advanced so far that we weren’t gonna play the games before our team and Alabama took the court, stopped everything and removed people from the facility. It is a very, very unique and challenging time for really our country and for the world, really.”

Ramon Foster retiring – Steelers.com

After 11 years as a starting offensive lineman with the Pittsburgh Steelers, former Vol Ramon Foster is retiring. Foster, just like Arian Foster, was an undrafted free agent after the 2008 season but emerged as a major overachiever and became a regular starter for Mike Tomlin’s team. He has been a leader for the offense in recent years as well.

Foster has always been one of the most respected players in the Steelers locker room throughout his career, and a voice that has always spoken out when the time is right. Foster has also been a leader in the community, helping to spearhead the team’s Social Justice Program the last two seasons.