The NCAA on Thursday released a wide-ranging set of guidelines for schools navigating a return to play, testing procedures and preserving team health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The document details standards for athletic programs to follow as the preseason for football — the major revenue generator in college sports — ramps up ahead of the Week One opener Sept. 5. Among the key points in the release:
» Any student-athlete who tests positive for the coronavirus but is asymptomatic must isolate for at least 10 days after the test result. If that individual has symptoms, they should remain isolated until at least 72 hours after passing recovery in addition to the 10 days.
» Individuals with high-risk exposure to someone who tests positive must be quarantined for 14 days. This would include members of opposing teams after competition.
» Testing and results should occur within 72 hours of competition in high contact risk sports (including football, basketball, wrestling, soccer and volleyball). If testing can’t be performed in that window, the event should be postponed or canceled unless an alternative plan is agreed upon in coordination with conference and local health officials.
“Any recommendation on a pathway toward a safe return to sport will depend on the national trajectory of COVID-19 spread,” said Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer, in the release. “The idea of sport resocialization is predicated on a scenario of reduced or flattened infection rates.”