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NCAA issues updated return-to-sport guidelines

Newest installment of recommendations sets standard for testing, updates transmission risk classification for each sport

The NCAA has released the Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition, Second Edition, to update and extend previous guidance considering new and emerging information surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

The document includes considerations specific to the prevention of community spread of COVID-19, reclassification of transmission risk of sport based on emerging information, and COVID-19 testing and masking for athletes, officials and other Tier 1 personnel. Other considerations included in the document:

  • Differentiating outdoor from indoor sport.
  • Testing strategies that include use of PCR testing, or antigen testing that is performed with a regular cadence, as the standard testing methods for high transmission risk indoor sports.
  • Updated cardiac and exercise considerations for athletes who have developed COVID-19.
  • Updated travel considerations.
  • Considerations for discontinuation of athletics.

This latest guidance also serves to remind schools about the continuation of requirements from the NCAA Board of Governors related to the conduct of fall sports championships and student-athlete well-being. It also includes a reminder about the NCAA COVID-19 Concern Hotline for college athletes, parents or others to report alleged failures to adhere to obligations reflected in the resocialization standards or allegations that a school is putting student-athletes at risk for COVID-19.

“As the spread of COVID-19 continues to evolve, it is imperative we remain diligent in protecting the students, staff and officials at our member schools and conferences,” said Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer. “Members should continue to pair this guidance with recommendations from their local health officials.”

The guidance was developed in collaboration with the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, the American Medical Society for Sports Medicine COVID-19 Working Group and the Autonomy 5 Medical Advisory Group and takes into consideration available recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For more information on the NCAA’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit ncaa.org/covid-19.