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NCAA gives update on COVID-19 testing and guidelines for a return to sports

“If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”

NCAA Basketball: Final Four-NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert-Press Conference Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

As the start dates for fall sports inches closer, the NCAA continues to work out a plan for what a return to sports will look like.

On Thursday, the NCAA Sport Science Institute revealed its Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition, which includes updated recommendations about the protection of student-athletes and prevention of the coronavirus.

Among the major points include:

  • 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 preseason, regular season and postseason.
  • 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.
  • Testing and results within 72 hours of competition in high contact risk sports.
  • All individuals with high-risk exposure must be quarantined for 14 days.

“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.”

The NCAA also released a chart showing how bad America has missed the mark on slowing the spread of COVID-19:

“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 NCAA President Mark Emmert in a press release. “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.”

It’s crunch time, folks.