In the ongoing effort to try and provide an environment for how college athletics can potentially restart this fall despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA issued its latest updated guidance for policies and procedures athletic departments must implement to proceed. For anyone interested in reading the full report, you can find it here.
The prognosis would seem clear that it is unlikely given the current trajectory of the virus outbreak the return of fall sports seems unlikely at this point. Should cases per million residents nationally finally start to decrease significantly then there is still a chance we may have sports this fall. If we do, the steps being laid out should help mitigate and reduce risks of outbreaks among athletes.
The general keys are outdoor training, mask use, and strict sanitation guidelines. Overall the NCAA guidelines sent out in the third release include some interesting factoids. Among them are advice items such as electronic whistles during practice to avoid the deep breaths and sudden air burst required for a normal whistle, the strict use of face coverings during practice, and established “functional units” among teams. The last matter can be tricky in the event a player stands out partway through the season and the coaching staff wants to move him/her up in the rotation, for example.
- Asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic spread of COVID-19 is common in young adults.
- COVID-19 remains high risk for certain individuals, including those with a Body Mass Index of 30 or greater.
- Testing strategies should be implemented for all athletics activities, including pre-season, regular season and post-season.
- Testing and results should be obtained within 72 hours of competition in high contact risk sports.
- Daily self-health checks should be performed by all student-athletes and athletics personnel before entering any athletics facility.
- Physical distancing and masks/cloth face coverings are an integral part of athletics, and should be practiced whenever feasible.
- Although face shields are not proven to offer the same risk mitigation as masks/cloth face coverings, they should be integrated into sport where feasible.
- Universal masking should be observed on all sidelines, including when an athlete moves from the playing field to the sideline to confer with a coach.
Although testing and contact tracing infrastructure have expanded considerably, the variations in approach to reopening America for business and recreation have correlated with a considerable spike in cases in recent weeks. pic.twitter.com/TN1aE3lQ5L— NCAA (@NCAA) July 16, 2020
Yesterday we asked on Twitter whether you all thought we will get football this fall. You can find the results here:
POLL: Is college football going to happen this fall?— The Only Colors (@TheOnlyColors) July 16, 2020