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NCAA Chief Medical Officer calls pathway to sports “exceedingly narrow”

Troy Taormina | USA TODAY Sports

(Troy Taormina / USA TODAY Sports)

The NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer is still speaking out about the slim chances of a safe fall sports season. Three days ago, Dr. Brian Hainline held a conference call with a group of fellow doctors and reporters to discuss COVID-19 and how it relates to collegiate sports. At one point, a Titanic analogy was even used. Saturday night, Hainline – a clinical professor of neurology at Indiana University School of Medicine and New York University School of Medicine, in addition to his duties with the NCAA – doubled down on his professional opinion, saying “the pathway to play sports is so exceedingly narrow right now. Everything would have to line up perfectly.”

A major part of his argument is centered around testing and a school’s ability to consistently and accurately administer coronavirus tests to so many athletes and other students.

“Right now, if testing in the U.S. stays the way it is, there’s no way we can go forward with sports,” Hainline said.

Later, he added the country is “not in a place today where we could safely play sports.”

His remarks on CNN (which aired Saturday after midnight) seem to serve as a warning toward the conferences who have not yet canceled their fall sports – including the SEC, ACC and Big 12. However, his comments did seem to suggest that if the ability to administer tests is improved, there’s a better chance of a safe season.

Enter: the NBA .

News broke Saturday the FDA has approved a COVID-19 saliva test, which was developed at Yale in partnership with the NBA and the league’s Players’ Association. The test (“SalivaDirect”) is non-invasive and requires just a small sample, reducing risks for the healthcare workers collecting the samples.

Yale administered the saliva test to a group that included NBA players and staff in the lead-up to the league’s return to play inside the bubble and compared results to the nasal swab tests the same group also took. The results “almost universally matched,” according to published research that has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Depending on the proximity of the lab, consumers could get results back within a few hours – definitely within 24 hours. Anne Wyllie, an assistant professor and associate research scientist at Yale School of Public Health, said she expects labs to charge about $10 for the test. ESPN is reporting an expected $15 to $20 price tag for consumers, adding that the NBA, Yale and the players’ association do not intend to take royalties from any use of the testing method. Sources also told the worldwide leader that the NBA and its union contributed more than $500,000 combined to fund the Yale work.

A quicker, cheaper, less-invasive test would certainly help fight the pandemic nationwide. In this context, it’s specifically good news for sports, too. Will it be enough to keep the SEC on track to play, despite the consistently-dreary outlook from the NCAA’s chief medical officer? Only time will tell.

Article written by Maggie Davis

I love sports, podcasts, long walks on the beach and Twitter (@MaggieDavisKSR)

13 Comments for NCAA Chief Medical Officer calls pathway to sports “exceedingly narrow”



  1. 4everUKBlue
    1:27 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

    Well there is the lockdown II coming our way this fall. Bill Gates has talked about it for a few months now, even though, as Not Dan Issel pointed out, Everyone needs to take a look at Sweden. No lockdowns, no masks, no school closures . . . and, NO COVID-19!



    • mashman 93
      1:33 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

      So do we listen to the doctors that say this is so bad college sports can’t be played or the ones that say college sports can be played. Remember two million people were supposed to die in the United States alone and it hasn’t happened. I am not making light of death here, but the recovery rate is high, real high.



    • 4everUKBlue
      2:36 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

      I’m with you mashman, I’m just telling you what Gates has been saying.



    • Corder
      3:10 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

      They tell us to listen to the expert but every model or prediction that has come out has been so far off that the trust for them is broken. We listened to everything they had to say and we did everything they said for the most part. There is no conclusive study that has shown lockdowns did any better then staying open. I’m not saying that staying open is better I’m just saying there is nothing to prove things were any better then when we locked down. Plus all the things that hurt us with the lockdown sways heavy on the side of no more lockdowns because of the ramifications of having a nation wide lockdown.



    • mashman 93
      3:24 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

      Why does Bill Gates need to be involved in this 4ever? This weekend is the first time I have commented on here since all this crap started back in March so I apologize if I sounded a little salty. We agree on most everything that pertains to the Chinese virus



  2. BigBlueFoo42777
    1:38 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

    The bs I hear every time the news is on is far more dangerous than any virus.



    • 4everUKBlue
      2:37 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

      I don’t hear that BS because I never watch the news. Fear is the virus.



  3. UKinIN
    3:18 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

    Why don’t the experts recommend a way to play sports. Why is it their job to say “You can’t do it.”?



    • T-Town Cat
      3:40 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

      Critiquing is always easier than creating, that’s why.



  4. T-Town Cat
    3:39 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

    All the NCAA people that are trying to have sports cancelled should forfeit their salaries if they are successful. If there are no sports, why do we need NCAA bureaucrats to administer them?



  5. BigBluSoTru
    5:57 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

    Anybody that thinks their is going to Fb is crazy



  6. light my fire
    6:28 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

    These same DRs and people who don’t want sports played sure don’t disavow the protest and looting going on



  7. light my fire
    6:30 pm August 16, 2020 Permalink

    You can’t take the experts seriously until they shut down protest, flea markets, youth baseball, AAU, and etc