Penn State's James Franklin says his family will be in Florida during football season because of coronavirus risk

Penn State coach James Franklin is planning to spend the 2020 football season away from his family.

Franklin told Bryant Gumbel in an episode of HBO’s “Real Sports” Tuesday night that his family is going to stay in Florida during the season while Franklin is coaching in State College. The decision, he said, was made because his daughter has sickle cell disease and Franklin doesn’t want to risk her getting infected with coronavirus.

“I have two daughters. My one youngest daughter has sickle cell disease so it’s changed the dynamics of our family,” Franklin said. “My wife and kids are going to stay in Florida for the season and I’m going to be in Happy Valley just because we think that’s the right thing to do for my daughter with sickle cell.”

It was, as you can imagine, not an easy decision to make.

“There was a lot of tears, there was a lot of emotion having this conversation with my daughters,” Franklin said. “A lot of heartache over it.”

College athletic departments across the country are seeing athletes and staffers test positive for coronavirus as facilities open and players return for voluntary workouts. At least two schools — Houston and Kansas State — have had to suspend workouts for players because of coronavirus outbreaks.

Programs are going to attempt social distancing protocols as much as possible for workouts and practices, but there’s still the obvious risk for players and other members of the team to contract coronavirus away from football activities. Over 20 players at Clemson tested positive for coronavirus and a reported minimum of 30 players at LSU were in quarantine after either testing positive for the virus or being in contact with someone who tested positive.

Athletes at Penn State began voluntary workouts on June 16.

Penn State's James Franklin says he'll stay apart from his family in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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