Health and Safety

Championships Safety Overview

The NCAA is committed to the health and safety of all student-athletes, staff and fans. To satisfy this commitment, the Association has collaborated with leading members of the medical and scientific community with expertise in public health and COVID-19 management to establish guidelines for a return to championships.

The return-to-championships guidelines include the following provisions:

  • All rounds of the winter championships and Division I fall championships will be held at predetermined sites.
  • All championships will require a level of testing for Tier 1 and 2 participants before arrival at the championship site.
  • All championships will use a COVID-19 controlled environment for Tier 1 participants.
  • Aside from athletes who are actively competing or training, all accredited individuals and fans must universally mask and physically distance on-site.  
  • COVID-19 testing will be conducted based on travel considerations and each sport’s transmission risk level, as established by resocialization recommendations.
  • All individuals are required to adhere to safety protocols from the time they leave their home destination until they depart the championship site. 
  • Space management protocols will be developed for each site/sport to help ensure physical distancing.
  • Specific venue capacity and local health directives will be key factors in whether fans and family members will be allowed to attend. Site occupancy (inclusive of those in Tiers 1 through 3 and fans) may be up to 25% capacity, as determined by local public health authorities.
  • The NCAA’s championship guidelines allow each sport to use the appropriate guidelines for its championship event based on guidance and direction from the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, along with local and state oversight at the site of the preliminary and final rounds of the championship.

Each championship will establish two roles specific to the health and safety of the event: a Team COVID-19 Health Officer selected by every participating team and a Championships Medical Team for every championship event.

  • Team COVID-19 Health Officer: This individual is designated by each team to oversee team communication and management of confirmed positive COVID-19 cases. The COVID-19 Health Officer should be a medical provider or school administrator and serves responsibilities similar to the athletics health care administrator. The officer will oversee self-health checks of all Tier 1 participants, assuring that such checks are performed daily. The officer will consult with the team medical personnel regarding any report of symptoms disclosed in a self-health check. The officer will also be the designated recipient of verbal communication from the championship command center of a confirmed positive COVID-19 test. Following such communication, the officer will speak with the affected individual and will coordinate isolation logistics with the command center, while also serving as a liaison with the school, family and other key stakeholders to assure proper medical coordination, lodging and return travel.
  • Championships Medical Team: Each championship will have a designated Championships Medical Team, consisting of two to four individuals. There will be every effort to assure that one team is assigned for the entire championship. The Championships Medical Team will be utilized for complex decision-making around COVID-19 issues, including but not limited to decisions regarding re-entry into a controlled environment, impact of positive cases on game play, and requests by teams regarding medical decision-making related to COVID-19.  The championships medical team has no authority for decision-making regarding confirmation of COVID-19 tests, but may offer an opinion, when requested by the governing sport committee, championship administrator, local public health authority, or NCAA Chief Medical Officer, regarding complexities of COVID-19-related issues. This group provides recommendations that will be delivered via the NCAA Chief Medical Officer to the final decision-making authorities, which include the local public health authority and/or the championship sport committee as appropriate.

Tiers for Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships

All individuals who are part of the Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships will be identified as Tier 1, 2, 3 or 4 personnel.

  • Tier 1 individuals are those with the highest exposure (e.g., team travel party and officials). Physical distancing and masking may be compromised, especially during practice and competition. They must remain in the COVID-19 controlled environment.
  • Tier 2 individuals may have proximity to courtside, with potential periodic interaction with Tier 1 and potential compromised physical distancing with other Tier 2 participants (e.g., basketball committee members, select NCAA staff, ambassadors, site control officials, national coordinator of officials, contact tracers and game operations personnel). They must be universally masked and make every effort to maintain physical distancing. Interaction with those in Tier 1 is by approval only, with the assurance of physical distancing and masking.
  • Tier 3 individuals have proximity to those in Tier 2, and potentially to those in Tier 1 (e.g., select NCAA and venue staff, game and practice operations personnel, travel staff, and security). Tier 3 should remain separate from Tier 2, with only limited, approved interaction. This group should always physically distance and universally mask.
  • Tier 4 is the lowest exposure tier, covering individuals not in proximity to Tiers 1-3 (e.g., cleaning staff, media, player guest, conference administrators, hotel runners and the general public). This group should always physically distance and universally mask.

Testing strategies for Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships

Tier 1 participants will be required to undergo and document seven consecutive negative daily COVID-19 tests before arrival into Indianapolis or San Antonio. One of these tests must be PCR. Tier 1 individuals will be administered daily tests upon arrival and during the tournament. All Tier 1 individuals will remain in quarantine until two consecutive tests on separate days are confirmed negative, at which time team practice may begin. A same-day protocol will be in place for potential false positive tests.

Tier 2 individuals must undergo and document a negative PCR test within two days of arrival in Indianapolis or San Antonio (or a negative antigen test within one day of arrival) and will undergo PCR testing daily thereafter. Tier 2 individuals will remain in quarantine and may not begin their work until the first test upon arrival is confirmed negative. Tier 2 individuals will not interact with Tier 1 participants unless absolutely necessary and under conditions in which all parties are masked and physically distanced.

Tier 3 individuals must undergo and document a negative PCR test within three days of arrival in Indianapolis or San Antonio and will undergo PCR testing twice weekly thereafter.

Tier 4 individuals are not subject to testing and must follow the recommendations of local public health officials.

For participants who are at least two weeks post-infection and within 90 days of the first known date of infection, COVID-19 testing and contact tracing will not be required. Masking and physical distancing will still be required for these participants. Refer to the men’s basketball and women’s basketball policies for more details. For participants who are fully vaccinated, testing protocols will remain in place but they will not be subject to quarantine restrictions per guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Tiers for all other championships

All individuals who are part of the remaining NCAA Championships will be identified as in Tier 1, 2 or 3.

  • Tier 1 individuals are those with the highest exposure (e.g., student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists, medical staff, equipment staff and officials). Physical distancing and masking may be compromised during practice and competition.
  • Tier 2 individuals (e.g., administrators, security, event staff and league staff) are considered at moderate risk to exposure. They may be in proximity to those in Tier 1 but can always maintain physical distancing and masking. They may have limited interaction with Tier 1 individuals only upon approval and assurance that all parties will be physically distanced and masked.
  • Tier 3 individuals (e.g., housekeeping, catering, sanitation, transportation, media and broadcast workers) make up the lowest tier of risk to exposure. They will have no interaction with people in Tier 1 or Tier 2.

Testing strategies for all other championships

The testing schedule for Tier 1 individuals is outlined in the chart below. Tier 2 individuals must undergo and document a negative PCR test within two days of arrival, or a negative antigen test within one day of arrival, and undergo daily self-health checks. Further testing is based on symptoms. Tier 3 individuals must undergo daily self-health checks, with testing based on symptoms.

Health and Safety Details for all NCAA Championships

 

The following chart is intended as a resource for member schools to use in coordination with applicable government and related institutional policies and guidelines. Updated information will be added when it becomes available.

Last Updated March 5, 2021

Event

Location

Dates

Pre-event Testing

On-site Testing

Fans

Media Access

FALL CHAMPIONSHIPS IN SPRING

DI Men’s and Women’s Cross Country

Oklahoma State University Cross Country Course
Stillwater, Oklahoma

March 15

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

Participants will be allowed to invite limited guests to the championship. There will be no public ticket sales for the event.

Some local and national media may be allowed to attend, but all news conferences will be virtual.

DI Field Hockey

Karen Shelton Stadium
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

May 7-9

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

Two guests per travel party member. No other fans will be allowed.

Some media seating but not allowed on field or in press box. All news conferences will be conducted virtually.

DI Football Championship Subdivision

Toyota Stadium
Frisco, Texas

May 16 (tentative)

PCR: Within three days before

scheduled competition for that

week.

Antigen/rapid PCR: Same day as each competition.

25% of venue capacity.

TBD

DI Men’s and Women’s Soccer

WakeMed Soccer Park
Cary, North Carolina

May 13-17

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DI Women’s Volleyball

CHI Health Center Omaha
Omaha, Nebraska

April 13-24

Three times during the week prior to arrival on nonconsecutive days, inclusive of a negative PCR test within two days of arrival.

Daily testing upon arrival. Quarantine until first two tests (on separate days) are confirmed negative.

TBD

TBD

National Collegiate Men’s Water Polo

University of Southern California
Los Angeles

March 20-21

Three times during the week prior to arrival on nonconsecutive days, inclusive of a negative PCR test within two days of arrival.

Daily testing upon arrival. Quarantine until first two tests (on separate days) are confirmed negative.

TBD

TBD

WINTER CHAMPIONSHIPS

DI Men’s Basketball

Indianapolis and surrounding region

March 18-April 5

Tested for seven consecutive days prior to travel, including one PCR test.

Daily testing upon arrival. Quarantine until first two tests (on separate days) are confirmed negative.

25% of venue capacity for most sites.

Limited on-site credentials issued; postgame interviews conducted virtually.

DI Women’s Basketball

San Antonio and surrounding region

March 21-April 4

Tested for seven consecutive days prior to travel, including one PCR test.

Daily testing upon arrival. Quarantine until first two tests (on separate days) are confirmed negative.

17% of venue capacity for most sites.

Limited on-site credentials issued; postgame interviews conducted virtually.

DII Men’s Basketball

Regional sites:

West Liberty — West Liberty, West Virginia

Northern State — Aberdeen, South Dakota

Saint Rose — Albany, New York

Southern Indiana/Evansville Sports Corp. ­— Evansville, Indiana

Valdosta State — Valdosta, Georgia

Lubbock Christian —Lubbock, Texas

Lincoln Memorial — Harrogate, Tennessee

Colorado School of Mines ­—Golden, Colorado

Finals site:

Evansville, Indiana

Regional dates:March 13-16

 

 

Finals site dates:

March 24-27

Three times during the week prior to arrival on nonconsecutive days, inclusive of a negative PCR test within two days of arrival.

Daily testing upon arrival. Quarantine until first two tests (on separate days) are confirmed negative.

TBD

TBD

DII Women’s Basketball

Regional sites:

Ohio Dominican/Greater Columbus Sports Commission — Columbus, Ohio

Central Missouri — Warrensburg, Missouri

Daemen — Buffalo, New York

Drury — Springfield, Missouri

North Georgia — Dahlonega, Georgia

West Texas A&M —Canyon, Texas

Carson-Newman —Jefferson City, Tennessee

Colorado Mesa ­— Grand Junction, Colorado

Finals site:

Columbus, Ohio

Regional site dates: March 13-15

 

Finals site dates:

March 23-26

Three times during the week prior to arrival on nonconsecutive days, inclusive of a negative PCR test within two days of arrival.

Daily testing upon arrival. Quarantine until first two tests (on separate days) are confirmed negative.

TBD

TBD

National Collegiate Bowling

AMF Pro Bowl Lanes
North Kansas City, Missouri

April 8-10

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

National Collegiate Fencing

Multi-Sport Facility
University Park, Pennsylvania

March 25-28

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

National Collegiate Men’s Gymnastics

Maturi Pavilion
Minneapolis

April 16-17

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics

Dickies Arena
Fort Worth, Texas

April 16-17

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DI Men’s Ice Hockey

PPG Paints Arena
Pittsburgh

April 8-10

Three times during the week prior to arrival on nonconsecutive days, inclusive of a negative PCR test within two days of arrival.

Daily testing upon arrival. Quarantine until first two tests (on separate days) are confirmed negative.

TBD

TBD

National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey

Erie Insurance Arena
Erie, Pennsylvania

March 15-21

Three times during the week prior to arrival on nonconsecutive days, inclusive of a negative PCR test within two days of arrival.

Daily testing upon arrival. Quarantine until first two tests (on separate days) are confirmed negative.

A limited number of family/friends of the participating teams can attend.

A limited number of media will be credentialed.

National Collegiate Rifle

Converse Hall
Columbus, Ohio

March 12-13

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

No spectators.

TBD

National Collegiate Skiing

Cannon Mountain and Jackson Nordic Center
Franconia, New Hampshire

March 10-13

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

No fans or guest are allowed.

No in-person media.

DI Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving

Greensboro Aquatic Center
Greensboro, North Carolina

Women: March 17-20

Men: March 24-27

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantined until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while on-site.

No spectators.

No in-person media.

DII Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving

Birmingham CrossPlex
Birmingham, Alabama

March 17-20

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantined until one confirmed negative, then testing every other day while on-site.

No spectators.

TBD

DI Men’s and Women’s Track and Field (indoor)

Randal Tyson Center
Fayetteville, Arkansas

March 11-13

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantined until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while on-site.

No spectators.

TBD

DII Men’s and Women’s Track and Field (indoor)

Birmingham CrossPlex
Birmingham, Alabama

March 11-13

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantined until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while on-site.

No spectators.

TBD

DI Wrestling

Enterprise Center
St. Louis

March 18-20

Three times during the week prior to arrival on nonconsecutive days, inclusive of a negative PCR test within two days of arrival.

Daily testing upon arrival. Quarantine until first two tests (on separate days) are confirmed negative.

Schools will be allotted a limited number of tickets based on the number of qualifying wrestlers. There will be no public ticket sales for the event.

Some local and national media may be allowed to attend, but all news conferences will be virtual.

DII Wrestling

Super Regional sites:

Mercyhurst — Erie, Pennsylvania

Emmanuel —Franklin Springs, Georgia

Tiffin — Tiffin, Ohio

Central Oklahoma —Edmond, Oklahoma

Northern State — Aberdeen, South Dakota

Colorado Mesa — Grand Junction, Colorado

Finals site:

St. Louis

Super Regionals: Feb. 27-28

Finals: March 12-13

Three times during the week prior to arrival on nonconsecutive days, inclusive of a negative PCR test within two days of arrival.

Daily testing upon arrival. Quarantine until first two tests (on separate days) are confirmed negative.

Limited spectators which will be based on the number of qualifiers from each team. No public tickets will be sold.

There will be limited media access.

SPRING CHAMPIONSHIPS

DI Baseball

TD Ameritrade Park
Omaha, Nebraska

June 19-30

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DII Baseball

USA Baseball National Training Complex
Cary, North Carolina

June 5-12

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DIII Baseball

Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

June 3-9

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

National Collegiate Beach Volleyball

Gulf Beach Place
Gulf Shores, Alabama

May 7-9

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DI Men’s and Women’s Golf

Grayhawk Golf Club
Scottsdale, Arizona

May 21-26
(Women)

May 28 - June 2
(Men)

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DII Men’s Golf

PGA National Resort
Palm Beach Gardens, Florida

May 17 - 21

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DII Women’s Golf

TPC Michigan
Dearborn, Michigan

May 11-15

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DIII Men’s Golf

Oglebay Resort & Conference Center
Wheeling, West Virginia

May 11-14

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DIII Women’s Golf

Forest Akers
Lansing, Michigan

May 11-14

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DI Men’s Lacrosse

Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field
East Hartford, Connecticut

May 29-31

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DI Women’s Lacrosse

Johnny Unitas Stadium
Towson, Maryland

May 28-30

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DII and DIII Men’s Lacrosse

Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field
East Hartford, Connecticut

May 30

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DII and DIII Women’s Lacrosse

Kerr Stadium
Salem, Virginia

May 21-23

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DI, DII and DIII Rowing

Nathan Benderson Park
Bradenton, Florida

May 28-30

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DI Softball

USA Softball Hall of Fame Stadium
Oklahoma City

June 3-9

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DII Softball

The Regency Athletic Complex at MSU Denver
Denver

May 27-31

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DIII Softball

Moyer Sports Complex
Salem, Virginia

May 27-June 1

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DI Men’s and Women’s Tennis

USTA National Campus (Collegiate Center)
Orlando, Florida

May 20-29
 

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DII Men’s and Women’s Tennis

Surprise Tennis & Racquet Complex
Surprise, Arizona

May 18-22
 

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DIII Men’s and Women’s Tennis

Biszantz Family Tennis Center
Claremont, California

May 24-30
 

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DI Men’s and Women’s Track and Field (outdoor)

Hayward Field
Eugene, Oregon

June 9-12
 

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DII Men’s and Women’s Track and Field (outdoor)

Grand Valley State South Complex
Allendale, Michigan

May 27-29
 

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DIII Men’s and Women’s Track and Field (outdoor)

Irwin Belk Track
Greensboro, North Carolina

May 27-29

Negative antigen within one day of arrival, or negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until confirmed negative, then testing every other day while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

National Collegiate Men’s Volleyball

Covelli Center
Columbus, Ohio

May 6-8

Three times weekly on nonconsecutive days (antigen or PCR, confirmed negative), with a negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until two consecutive tests are confirmed negative, then daily testing while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

DIII Men’s Volleyball

The Shults Center at Nazareth College
Rochester, New York

April 23-24

Three times weekly on nonconsecutive days (antigen or PCR, confirmed negative), with a negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until two consecutive tests are confirmed negative, then daily testing while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

National Collegiate Women’s Water Polo

Spieker Aquatics Center
Los Angeles

May 14-16

Three times weekly on nonconsecutive days (antigen or PCR, confirmed negative), with a negative PCR within two days of arrival.

Testing upon arrival and quarantine until two consecutive tests are confirmed negative, then daily testing while participating on-site.

TBD

TBD

Return-to-play considerations following a positive test during championships

Some athletes may test positive for COVID-19 just before or during championships and may have an opportunity to compete if they have completed mandatory isolation and recovered and the championship event is ongoing. For this scenario, the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group agreed with the following considerations that were developed by the COVID-19 Playing and Practice Season Subcommittee of the Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports.

  • Return-to-play decisions are to occur in a manner consistent with the provisions of independent medical care legislation, which provides primary athletics health care providers with unchallengeable autonomous authority to determine medical management and return-to-play decisions related to student-athletes (Division I Constitution 3.2.4.19; Division II Constitution 3.3.4.19; Division III Constitution 3.2.4.21).
  • Consistent with previous feedback, the subcommittee agreed that established best practices related to transition periods apply to this scenario, given the time of inactivity and potential for infection impact.
  • No singular approach (e.g., X-day policy) is appropriate as a substitution for local medical judgement and decision-making. Specifically, there can be significant variability in the clinical impact of COVID-19 infection and the overall physiological readiness of student-athletes, and this variability must be individually assessed by primary athletic health care providers.
  • Following isolation and appropriate medical clearance (e.g., cardiopulmonary evaluation), physical activity should be appropriately calibrated for sport-specific intensity, frequency and duration. In particular, the subcommittee highlighted the need for a demonstrated progression of intensity in a noncompetition setting. 
    • For example, before competition a student-athlete should demonstrate the ability to successfully manage physiological stress comparable to that during competition.
  • In summary, the principles of transition periods with a focus on frequency, duration and intensity of activity continue to apply; further, the variability in the clinical impact of disease and the overall physiological readiness of student-athletes does not support a national standardized policy for return to play. Following isolation and appropriate medical clearance, affected athletes should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and in a sport-specific way, before return to competition.

Media requests

Media should submit inquiries on health and safety protocols using this form.

 

NCAA Sport Science Institute updates resocialization guidelines

The NCAA Sport Science Institute, in collaboration with the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel, has released Action Plan Considerations to help schools mitigate risks of COVID-19 spread as staff and student-athletes return.

2020-21 Concussion Management Updates: Frequently Asked Questions

The purpose of this Frequently Asked Questions document is to facilitate and support the efforts of NCAA member institutions to comply with applicable divisional concussion safety legislation. In early 2015, the Concussion Safety Protocol Committee created the Concussion Safety Protocol Checklist (Checklist) to encourage and support institutional compliance with industry best practices and applicable concussion legislation. Consistency with the Checklist is now specifically referenced as part of the requirements in each of the three divisional manuals. The NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports (CSMAS) recently approved an updated version of the Checklist and, while the NCAA has, through its governance process, relaxed many of the legislative requirements related to submission and reporting deadlines in response to the impact on schools resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, member schools still need to ensure that institutional concussion management practices are consistent with applicable legislative and policy requirements and should incorporate a thorough analysis of the recent updates to the Checklist and any other concussion-related legislative and policy changes as part of that process. Specifically, schools should carefully review and understand the most recent updates to the Checklist, and related concussion management legislation, policies and guidance, and work with applicable institutional personnel to ensure any necessary adjustments to their concussion management practices are properly and timely implemented. In this Frequently Asked Questions document we have provided responses to some of the most anticipated membership questions related to those institutional review and update activities.

Q1. Have there been any legislative or policy updates related to concussion management since 2019?

A1. Yes. While there have been no changes to Division II or III legislation related to concussion management, a portion of Division I Constitution 3.2.4.20.1 (Concussion Safety Protocol) has been updated to require that an institution's Concussion Safety Protocol must be consistent with the Checklist. In addition, all three divisions are required to comply with the Interassociation Recommendations: Preventing Catastrophic Injury and Death in Collegiate Athletes, which contain content specific to concussion management and which were unanimously endorsed by the NCAA Board of Governors and announced as Association-wide policy under the Uniform Standard of Care Procedures in the summer of 2019. A copy of those materials can be accessed here.

Q2. Has the Checklist been updated since 2019?

A2. Yes. CSMAS approved updates to the Checklist at its most recent committee meeting in March of this year. These changes became effective immediately upon approval.

Q3. How is the Checklist updated?

A3. The NCAA Board of Governors designated CSMAS to prescribe the process and format recommendations related to applicable concussion legislation. The Concussion Safety Advisory Group (CSAG) was created by CSMAS for the purposes of providing focused review and advice around emerging developments in concussion science and policy, including those that may warrant an update to the Checklist and related policy and educational materials. CSAG meets annually in the spring to review and discuss available research data and accepted industry practices and how they may impact Checklist content. At its March 2020 meeting and based on input from the CSAG, CSMAS approved several substantive changes to the Checklist.

Q4. How do I know what has changed with the Checklist?

A4. The updated version of the Checklist can be accessed here. All updated content has been highlighted so that changes from the previous version can be easily identified.

Q5. Aside from the legislative and policy updates described in Item Q1 above and the updates to the Checklist, are there any other legislative or policy requirements related to concussion management that we should review or be aware of?

A5. Yes. While certain details of applicable concussion legislation vary depending on division, and each school should carefully review all legislative and policy requirements related to concussion management, all three divisions require that the following provisions be included as part of a school’s concussion management plan:

  • An annual process that ensures student-athletes are educated about the signs and symptoms of concussions. Student-athletes must acknowledge that they have received information about the signs and symptoms of concussions and that they have a responsibility to report concussion-related injuries and illnesses to a medical staff member;
  • A process that ensures a student-athlete who exhibits signs, symptoms or behaviors consistent with a concussion shall be removed from athletics activities (e.g., competition, practice, conditioning sessions) and evaluated by a medical staff member (e.g., sports medicine staff, team physician) with experience in the evaluation and management of concussions;
  • A policy that precludes a student-athlete diagnosed with a concussion from returning to athletics activity (e.g., competition, practice, conditioning sessions) for at least the remainder of that day; and
  • A policy that requires medical clearance for a student-athlete diagnosed with a concussion to return to athletics activity (e.g., competition, practice, conditioning sessions) as determined by a physician (e.g., team physician) or the physician’s designee.

Q6. Who is responsible for assuring the implementation of applicable concussion management updates at my institution?

A6. Independent Medical Care legislation in all three divisions requires the designation of an Athletics Health Care Administrator (AHCA) who independently oversees the administration and delivery of athletics health care on behalf of the institution. While we anticipate that the creation and implementation of any necessary concussion management changes and practices may require input from a variety of institutional medical and other personnel, it is reasonable to consider these activities as part of the broader administration and delivery of health care at each institution.

Q7. What is the NCAA Concussion Protocol Template and why was it created?

A7. To facilitate and support member compliance with concussion legislation, CSMAS approved a Concussion Safety Protocol Template (Template) that includes all components of the Checklist. The Template is available for download in Microsoft Word format and allows schools to individualize certain areas of the document and to otherwise modify the Template to accommodate and reflect individual needs and practices.

Q8. Which institutions can access and use the Template?

A8. The Template is available to every NCAA member institution and may be utilized by institutional staff as an educational and compliance tool.

Q9. Where can I find a copy of the Template and does it reflect the most recent Checklist updates?

A9. Yes. We have revised the Template to reflect the most recent changes to the Checklist and the updated version of the Template can be accessed here. All updated content has been highlighted so that changes from the previous version can be easily identified.

Q10. Will there be Checklist changes in the future?

A10. The NCAA Sport Science Institute (SSI) will continue to work with CSMAS and the corresponding CSAG at least annually to identify and review information that may inform recommendations about future Checklist changes.

Q11. How does the Checklist and other legislative and policy requirements relate to the certification requirement arising from the Arrington settlement?

A11. While many of the member obligations in Section IX.A of the Settlement Agreement are similar to or overlap with certain existing NCAA health and safety legislation, policies and guidance materials, each set of obligations is distinct from and, in some instances, different from the other. Compliance with one set of obligations should not be deemed to automatically or entirely satisfy compliance with the other. Therefore, it is important to consult with school legal counsel and other risk management staff as necessary to fully understand these differences and to evaluate your institutional practices and compliance with respect to the member obligations as they relate to the Arrington matter and applicable NCAA legislation, policy and guidance. Additional detailed information about institutional obligations related to the Arrington matter, and the differences between those and NCAA legislative requirements, has been provided to all member institutions by email in the form of two Frequently Asked Questions documents, which can be found here.

Q12. I have a question not covered here. Who can I contact?

A12. If you have reviewed the content of this FAQ and cannot find the answer, please email the Sport Science Institute at: ssi@ncaa.org.

Additional Considerations for Division I Schools

Q13. Are Division I autonomy schools still required to submit a concussion management protocol for review by the Concussion Safety Protocol Committee?

A13. No, not at this time. As part of a broader effort to provide support and flexibility to member institutions impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA Division I Council Coordination Committee decided to waive reporting and submission deadlines identified in Constitution 3 for active Division I member institutions, as needed (e.g., sports sponsorship and demographic form, health and safety survey, concussion safety protocol). The waiver effectively removed the obligation of Division I autonomy schools under Constitution 3.2.4.20.1 to submit concussion management protocols for review by the Concussion Safety Protocol Committee by May 1 of this year. This information was sent to impacted member schools by email late last month stating that institutions may work with NCAA staff to establish appropriately revised deadlines. However, due to the continued uncertainty around the timing of return to campus activities and the recognition that these timelines will likely vary from institution to institution, a new protocol submission deadline has not been identified at this time. If a new 2020-21 submission deadline is established, we will communicate that information to impacted institutions well ahead of time.

Q14. If the May 1 protocol submission deadline has been waived, what is the new deadline for Division I autonomy schools to submit their institutional protocols for review?

A14. The 2020 submission deadline has been waived. Due to the uncertainty around the timing of return to campus activities and the recognition that these timelines will likely vary from institution to institution, a new protocol submission deadline has not been identified at this time. If a new submission 2020-21 deadline is established, we will communicate that information to impacted institutions well ahead of time.

Q15. Can my institution utilize the Template that was created to conform to the updated Checklist?

A15. Yes. The Template may be used by every NCAA member institution as an educational and compliance tool.

Q16. My institution submitted its protocol last year for review and the Concussion Safety Review Committee confirmed that it was consistent with the Checklist. Do we need to do anything this year?

A16. Division I Constitution 3.2.4.20.1 (Concussion Safety Protocol) has been updated to require that an institution's Concussion Safety Protocol must be consistent with the Checklist. Because the 2020 Checklist includes material updates, you should carefully review these changes and other relevant legislative and policy requirements and work with applicable institutional medical and other staff to identify and incorporate any necessary adjustments to your concussion management protocol and practices.

Q17. I understand that the May 1 submission deadline has been waived; but can we still submit our updated concussion protocol to the Concussion Safety Protocol Committee for review and feedback?

A17. No. Due to the travel and other resource restrictions and impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, neither the Concussion Safety Protocol Committee nor its designated subcommittee that has historically reviewed Division I non-autonomy opt in submissions will be convening for or conducting protocol review activities at this time. However, the NCAA SSI staff is committed to providing membership with all of the tools and information necessary to identify applicable updates to concussion management practices resulting from the recent Checklist changes and will work, in conjunction with CSMAS as applicable, to respond to all membership questions on the topic. Specific questions about the Checklist or the recent updates should be directed to ssi@ncaa.org.

Q18. I understand that the protocol submission deadline has been waived. Do we still need to sign the annual Compliance Certification Form?

A18. Yes. Division I Constitution 3.2.4.20.1-(g) requires that a written certificate of compliance signed by the institution’s AHCA be included in the institution’s concussion safety protocol. We recommend that the signed form is kept on file in the office of the institution’s AHCA along with a current copy of the concussion safety protocol and other concussion management materials.

Q19. Is there a specific Compliance Certification Form that my AHCA needs to use to meet the legislative requirement?

A19. No. However, to facilitate and support member compliance with this requirement, the NCAA has developed a standard Compliance Certification Form. A blank copy of the form can be accessed here. We recommend that your AHCA print, sign and keep the form on file in his or her office along with a current copy of the concussion safety protocol and other concussion management materials.

Q20. How do I know if my institutional protocol was reviewed as part of the 2019 process and whether we received any related feedback?

A20. If your institution participated in the 2019 Concussion Safety Protocol Review Process, feedback would have been provided in the form of a letter addressed to your institution's athletics director, AHCA, conference commissioner and senior compliance administrator. Any inconsistencies between your protocol and the then current version Checklist would have been identified and described as part of that feedback communication. If you are unable to locate a copy of this communication and are unsure of your 2019 submission or review status, you can request that information by emailing ssi@ncaa.org.

COVID-19 Advisory Panel roster
Meet the people behind the NCAA's COVID-19 Advisory Panel

In early March, NCAA leadership started planning to create an independent advisory panel to help inform the Association on the emerging COVID-19 virus. There would be evolving information to keep track of, complex questions and tough decisions to be made. The idea was to create an expert team made up of diverse perspectives that could keep NCAA membership informed on the most up-to-date information around this emerging virus, and provide recommendations based on that information.

COVID-19 and Mental Health

COVID-19 has caused disruption to everyone. It is important to be aware of the potential negative impact that a crisis can have on our mental and physical health, often because of a breakdown in self-care. The NCAA Sport Science Institute will be developing webinars and outreach recommendations with the NCAA membership. The purpose of this memo is to provide resources and recommendations that may be helpful now.

General Resources

The CDC webpage on managing anxiety and stress provides a practical overview of self-care and resources. The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides a comprehensive information and resource guide that addresses self-care and community/national resources.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration tip sheet answers questions about COVID-19, social distancing, quarantine and isolation.

Daily Strategies

The National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends daily strategies for self-care and awareness. Following is a summary of general recommendations:

  • Space. Create a structured, dedicated work environment, and include regular patterns of self- care.
  • Routine. Try to maintain a routine that reflects your normal day routine, including how you dress and structured breaks for lunch and mini-breaks.
  • Activity. Regular exercise and mindfulness activities are key during times of crisis. Exercise and mindfulness activities help mitigate depression and anxiety while improving cognition and confidence. Develop a daily routine for both, even if this is as simple as a 15-minute walk and/or quiet time with deep breathing.
  • Time and Energy Management. Be mindful of over- or under-working. Try to structure your daily work in a way that mirrors your normal workplace hours. In addition to time management, be aware of the way in which you eat, self-talk, and communicate with others. Self-compassion and self-care provide stability and confidence.
  • Accessibility. Develop ways in which you are accessible to colleagues, friends and family.
  • Face Time and Connectivity. Humans need to feel and be connected. Utilize video tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype, Facetime, Google Hangouts, Facebook and WhatsApp to connect visually.
  • Resources. Map out your important resources, ranging from daily necessities to emergency management.
  • Support. The National Alliance on Mental Health Illness website provides a comprehensive guide to national and local resources. Know that there is help when needed.

Athletics health care providers and athletics staff should forward this message to all strength and conditioning coaches and other personnel who oversee student-athlete exercise and strength and conditioning sessions.

NCAA national office operations during COVID-19

Due to the evolving COVID-19 public health situation, the NCAA national office will suspend normal building operations in Indianapolis from Wednesday, March 18, through at least Friday, April 10. All other operations will continue as the...

NCAA President Mark Emmert's statement on limiting attendance at NCAA events

The NCAA continues to assess the impact of COVID-19 in consultation with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel . Based on their advice and my discussions with the NCAA Board of Governors, I have made the decision to...

Statement from the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel on NCAA events

The NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel recognizes the fluidity of COVID-19 and its impact on hosting events in a public space. COVID-19 is spreading rapidly in the United States, and behavioral risk mitigation strategies are the best option for...

What NCAA members need to know about COVID-19

Member schools have the primary responsibility for ensuring that actionable plans are in place to guide the local response to a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19 among school personnel or a related exposure to the virus at an on-campus event. Athletics personnel should reach out to campus health care leaders at their respective school to safeguard the well-being of student-athletes, employees and fans attending athletics events.

If campus staff members have reason to believe that someone associated with the athletics department shows symptoms consistent with COVID-19, they should immediately notify the personnel on campus responsible for coordinating with local and state health officials, including public health departments.

When members are engaging with the campus health crisis leadership team about issues that may be specific to their athletics department, such as the proximity of student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers and other medical personnel to one another, here are topics to discuss:

  • Guidance to athletics departments to communicate the policy to athletics personnel, including student-athletes.
  • Confirmation of procedures athletics staff members should follow to notify campus leadership of a suspected case or exposure to COVID-19, so appropriate governmental notifications can take place as soon as possible.
  • Roster and contact information of individuals assigned to the school’s action or response team charged with responding to medical emergencies or local public health crises.
  • Contact information for local and/or state health departments so athletics staff members can access resource materials.
  • Implementation of a campus policy regarding the triage and clinical management of individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • NCAA guidance on medical disqualification as found in the NCAA Sports Medicine Handbook (page 34).
  • Coordination of athletics events with campus leaders and local and/or state health departments if there is a suspected outbreak of COVID-19 in the community.

More Information

For more information on the coronavirus, visit the CDC’s coronavirus page. CDC guidance on clinical signs and symptoms and infection prevention and control recommendations are available here.

As with all information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that may impact the well-being of student-athletes, the NCAA Sport Science Institute encourages athletics departments to carefully review these materials with applicable institutional health care providers and other relevant campus personnel. They should implement any appropriate risk-mitigating initiatives.

Statement on COVID-19 and NCAA championship events

The NCAA continues to assess how COVID-19 impacts the conduct of our tournaments and events. We are consulting with public health officials and our COVID-19 advisory panel, who are leading experts in epidemiology and public health, and...

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