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COVID-19 Guidance on Multiple Teams in the Same Location

Disclaimer

The Multiple Teams in Same Location document has been developed in support of the release of the Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Basketball and Frequently Asked Questions: Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Basketball and Testing Considerations for All Sports. As with prior NCAA publications, the materials are meant to be consistent with guidance published by the federal government and its health agencies. This document reflects the relevant scientific and medical information available at the time of publication. These materials are not and should not be used as a substitute for medical or legal advice. Rather, they are intended as a resource for member schools to use in coordination with applicable government and related institutional policies and guidelines and remain subject to revision as available data and information emerge and evolve. 

Questions can be directed to SSI@ncaa.org.

Introduction

This document is intended as a resource when multiple teams are competing in the same location, which may include multiple team events or arrangements by conferences to use the same housing and competition venues over a specific time period. These formats limit travel, create a bubble for participants and allow multiple games to be played over a shortened time period. Adherence to guidance is important to mitigate the risk of infection spread across multiple teams given their shared environment.  

Following are guiding principles for multiple teams competing in the same location during the regular season, but not including the postseason.  

Travel

Travel parties should be limited to essential personnel, with all travelers observing universal masking and physical distancing as possible. Arrangements should be made with the event host to ensure that travel to and from the event site also ensures infection control protocols, including controlling the flow of ingress and egress. The event site should create a bubble for all activities and all on-site rooms, including locker room facilities and dining services.

Testing

Everyone on-site should be identified as Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3, in accordance with the basketball resocialization FAQ document. Tier 1 is the highest exposure tier and consists of student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and physical therapists, medical staff, equipment staff and officials. Tier 2 includes certain team staff and certain operational staff who may come into close contact with Tier 1 individuals but can reasonably maintain physical distance and use masks/face coverings. Tier 3 is the lowest exposure tier and includes media and broadcast workers and certain operational staff, such as housekeeping, catering, sanitation and transportation.

Testing expenses are the responsibility of the individual school before departure. On-site testing expenses are the responsibility of the event operator. 

Individuals should undergo the following testing protocol:

Before travel: Tier 1 only

  • If the school is testing three times a week via antigen testing, the prior three tests must be negative, and the last test should be performed within one day of travel. If PCR testing is used, a negative PCR test should be confirmed within two days of travel.
  • Officials are part of Tier 1, and there should be a mechanism in place to confirm that officials have been following the recommendations of testing three times per week and that negative tests results are similar to other Tier 1 individuals. 

On-site testing

  • Arrangements should be in place for all testing (antigen or PCR) to be performed either on-site or in proximity to the site, with results obtained in less than 24 hours.
  • Upon arrival, all Tier 1 individuals, including officials, are quarantined immediately and will receive antigen or PCR testing. All individuals remain in quarantine until a negative test is confirmed.
    • Antigen or PCR testing will continue for all Tier 1 individuals each day before a scheduled competition, and results should be confirmed before the competition. 
  • Tier 2 individuals will be tested upon arrival and will remain in quarantine until a negative test is confirmed. Tier 2 individuals will observe universal masking and physical distancing thereafter and will not interact with Tier 3 individuals. If Tier 2 individuals need to interact with Tier 1 individuals, universal masking and physical distancing should be maintained by all parties in both tiers.
  • Tier 3 individuals will observe universal masking and physical distancing at all times and will not interact with Tier 1 or Tier 2 individuals.

Infection Management

Tier 1 individuals from each team should remain separated from Tier 1 individuals from other teams (and from all Tier 2 and Tier 3 individuals) except during competition. This includes practice times, media interviews and all activities outside athletics.

Arrangements should be in place for PCR testing of anyone who has symptoms consistent with COVID-19 or anyone who tests positive through an antigen test. PCR testing is considered definitive, including when ruling out a false positive antigen test. A plan should be in place for isolating individuals who test positive on-site. Each team should further plan for transportation of newly infected individuals and should coordinate such plans with local public health authorities.

All shared space off the basketball court during practice and competition should be managed in a manner consistent with the public health standard of universal masking and physical distancing. Although public health authorities may determine if spectators are allowed for competitions, crowds should be spaced properly and should not exceed 25% capacity. All spectators should follow universal masking and physical distancing. Individuals who have been consistently sharing space (for example, families) may be seated in pods that are separated from other such groups. There should be a buffer zone of at least 10 feet behind benches to separate fans from the bench and operation desks.