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NCAA creates expanded COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group

New panel gathers experts from all three divisions, including the five autonomous conferences

The NCAA has established a new COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group that brings together professionals from all three NCAA divisions and all five of the autonomy conferences in Division I.

This group of infectious disease, public health and medical experts includes some members from the original advisory panel, plus representatives from organizations and medical groups that have been working collaboratively with the advisory panel and NCAA schools. The Medical Advisory Group will tap further into the expertise on university campuses across the country and ensure close communication.

The purpose of the Medical Advisory Group includes:

  • Reviewing emerging COVID-19 research and data to provide guidance to the NCAA membership regarding training, practice and competition, with a primary focus on testing paradigms and mitigating infection spread.
  • Specifically providing guidance regarding appropriate COVID-19 protocols applicable to training, practice and competition in winter and spring sports.
  • Providing guidance for conducting all sports competitions and championships, including on-site management of student-athletes and essential personnel, nonessential personnel and fans.
  • Providing guidance related to physiological, medical and mental health consequences of COVID-19.
  • Assessing other emerging information such as vaccines and new medical treatments for the purpose of providing guidance to NCAA member schools.

As a body reflecting independent experts and the broad membership of the Association, the Medical Advisory Group, to be chaired by NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline, will meet regularly and will provide reports to NCAA President Mark Emmert and the NCAA Board of Governors. In addition, the group will provide reports to all the divisional governance bodies and sport oversight committees, including the Division I Council and Division I Board of Directors, Division II Presidents and Management Councils, Division III Presidents and Management Councils, Division I Competition Oversight Committee, Division I Football Oversight Committee, and Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees.

Hainline and the Medical Advisory Group also will work collaboratively with other established medical advisory groups (for example, the Autonomy 5 Medical Advisory Group). The intent is for conference and school medical advisory groups and the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group to share information.   

The COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group is not a policymaking body but rather will provide guidance to the entire NCAA membership. The Medical Advisory Group, for example, will not make decisions regarding competition dates, end-of-season issues or the number of contests/weeks in regular season. Rather, the group will provide guidance so that appropriate membership and governance committees can make informed decisions regarding these matters. The group will continue to provide protocols for health and safety in a manner consistent with Resocialization of Collegiate Sport documents. It is anticipated that the first report will be released in three to four weeks and specifically will address men’s and women’s basketball.

The Medical Advisory Group will meet at least weekly and periodically produce public information. Additionally, the group will conduct biweekly videoconferences in which Hainline and other panel members will update representatives from each of the conferences and engage in question-and-answer discussions. Each conference will be asked to select an individual who will attend this biweekly meeting. Hainline also will continue to make himself available to participate in governance activities of the membership.