NCAA Has Plans To Restart Its Sports
A long way to go but the NCAA has a plan.
How football and basketball can return
There are a lot of ideas floating around about how college football can return as that is the next sport on the docket. No one knows for sure how that will look but now the NCAA has put out guidelines on steps they want to take to return all sports.
The document is titled: “Core Principles of Resocialization of Collegiate Sport.” There are three phases in how the NCAA wants to return to sports from COVID-19 and each phase has multiple steps.
This is a lengthy list in which the NCAA consulted with multiple experts from the medical field, public health officials and others who are working on re-opening the world to sports.
- There must not be directives at the national level that preclude resocialization.
- State and local authorities must have in place a plan for resocialization.
- There should be a plan in place at the university/college level for resocialization of students.
- There must be a plan in place at the university/college level for resocialization of student-athletes within athletics.
- There must be adequate personal protective equipment for athletics health care providers, and there must be sanitizers to manage infection control in all shared athletics space.
- There must be the ability to assess immunity to COVID-19 at a regional and local level. This could include immunity at the college campus, plus a more focused assessment of herd immunity for athletics teams.
- There must be access to reliable, rapid diagnostic testing on any individual who is suspected of having COVID-19 symptoms.
- There must be in place a local surveillance system so that newly identified cases can be identified promptly and isolated, and their close contacts must be managed appropriately.
- There must be clearly identified and transparent risk analyses in place. Such risk analyses consider issues such as economics, education, restoration of society, and medical risk of sport participation, including COVID-19 infection and possible death.
In this case, there are three phases put forward by the NCAA in how they will try to re-open.
In accordance with the federal guidelines, resocialization of sport for Phase One assumes the following:
- Gating criteria have been satisfied for a minimum of 14 days.
- Vulnerable student-athletes, athletics health care providers, coaches and athletics personnel should continue to shelter in place. Vulnerable populations include individuals with serious underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, chronic lung disease, diabetes, obesity and asthma, and those whose immune system is compromised, such as by chemotherapy.
- Those living in dorms and other residences where vulnerable individuals reside should be aware that by returning to work or other environments where distancing is not practical, they could carry the virus back home, and appropriate isolating precautions should be taken.
- Physical distancing should continue.
- Gatherings of more than 10 people should be avoided unless precautionary measures of physical distancing and sanitization are in place.
- Gyms and common areas where student-athletes and staff are likely to congregate and interact, should remain closed unless strict distancing and sanitation protocols can be implemented.
- Virtual meetings should be encouraged whenever possible and feasible.
- Nonessential travel should be minimized, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding isolation after travel should be implemented.
If Phase One has been implemented successfully, with no evidence of a rebound, and gating criteria have been satisfied for a minimum of 14 days since the implementation of Phase One. Then the second phase can begin which is below.
- Vulnerable individuals should continue to shelter in place.
- Awareness and proper isolating practices related to vulnerable individuals in residences should continue.
- Physical distancing should continue.
- Gatherings of more than 50 people should be avoided unless precautionary measures of physical distancing and sanitization are in place.
- Gyms and common areas where student-athletes and staff are likely to congregate and interact should remain closed, or appropriate distancing and sanitation protocols should be implemented.
- Virtual meetings should continue to be encouraged whenever possible and feasible.
- Nonessential travel may resume.
Once Phase Two has been implemented successfully, with no evidence of a rebound, and gating criteria have been satisfied for a minimum of 14 days since the implementation of Phase Two:
- Vulnerable student-athletes, athletics health care providers, coaches and athletics personnel can resume in-person interactions, but should practice physical distancing, minimizing exposure to settings where such distancing is not practical.
- Gyms and common areas where student-athletes and staff are likely to congregate and interact can reopen if appropriate sanitation protocols are implemented, but even low-risk populations should consider minimizing time spent in crowded environments.
- Unrestricted staffing may resume.
These are pretty big phases to go through to get sports back and it seems daunting that they will take some time to go through, specifically nationwide.
There will likely be pockets of the country that can meet these guidelines and others that will not be able to and that something that the NCAA will have to maneuver and it will not be easy.
At least there are steps in place to get NCAA sports back up and going and hopefully, these phases can be implemented and completed to get back to some live sports.