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NCAA Says We Need “Better Handle” on COVID-19 for Sports to Return

With just weeks to go, the suspense continues.

The NCAA last week released a set of guidelines its member schools should follow as athletic teams prepare for fall sports.

However, in releasing the guidelines, President Mark Emmert is not feeling too optimistic about the return of college athletics in the weeks and months ahead.

“Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction,” Emmert said. “If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”

The NCAA’s new guidelines recommend that all athletes wear face coverings or masks “during training, competition and outside of athletics.”

Additionally, the guidelines explain that athletes conduct “self-health” checks every day, and that if an athlete is experiencing shortness of breath, cough, high temperature or 10 other symptoms, they should contact health care experts before entering a team facility.

Lastly, the NCAA lists a series of testing strategies for low-contact, medium-contact and high-contact sports. For high-contact sports, such as football, the NCAA recommends that all athletes and “inner bubble personnel,” including coaches and other staff members, be tested weekly.

The guidelines go on to suggest that schools should be able to process COVID-19 tests within 72 hours. Otherwise, the league recommends cancelling or postponing events.

Several member conferences, including the Big Ten and the Pac-12 have announced in recent weeks that their schools will limit play to within thier conferences for the 2020 season.

Meanwhile, other conferences such as the Ivy League have announced the cancellation of their fall sports.

The first college football games of the season are scheduled to kick off on Aug. 29.

Let’s keep those fingers crossed! We got this…game time!