The NCAA has issued its next set of return-to-sport guidelines, and in the process, NCAA President Mark Emmert gave a pessimistic outlook on fall sports.
In the process of informing schools what they needed to do to protect student-athletes and prevent community spread of COVID-19 in the immediate future, Emmert said the current data is pointing in the wrong direction for those hoping to see fall sports.
“When we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel last spring’s championships it was because there was simply no way to conduct them safely,” said Emmert. “This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable. Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”
In terms of immediate recommendations, the NCAA Sport Science Institute released the following guidelines:
- Daily self-health checks.
- The appropriate use of face coverings and social distancing during training, competition and outside of athletics.
- Testing strategies for all athletics activities, including pre-season, regular season and post-season.
- Testing and results within 72 hours of competition in high contact risk sports.
“Any recommendation on a pathway toward a safe return to sport will depend on the national trajectory of COVID-19 spread,” said Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer. “The idea of sport resocialization is predicated on a scenario of reduced or flattened infection rates.”