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NCAA Mulls Strategies for Safe Return of Sports

Andy Berg

The NCAA is in the initial stages of figuring what exactly a safe return to college sports will look like when that finally happens.

The association today released a statement saying that the return to field or court may look different for every member institution.

“The NCAA’s COVID-19 Advisory Panel of leading medical, public health and epidemiology experts led by NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline has put together nine core principles to help guide institutions as they answer these challenging questions,” the statement read. “The document, “Resocialization in Sport,” takes into consideration federal recommendations, relying on experts, data and science, and puts the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes and the needs of the membership first.”

“Resocialization in Sport” lays out the following core principles of resocialization, as well as a detailed three-phase plan for reopening. 

“The transition from the above core principles to a relaxation of these principles can occur when COVID-19 can be managed in a manner like less virulent influenza strains,” the document concludes. “COVID-19 has essentially shut down society because it is highly contagious and has an unacceptably high death rate. More common strains of influenza do not close society because society has learned to adapt to and develop acceptable management strategies for influenza. For COVID-19, future phases are dependent on the successful development of widely available treatment, including prophylactic immunotherapy, coupled with widespread, effective vaccination.”

“It is also important to take into consideration that there will not be a quick, single day of re-emergence into society,” Hainline said in the statement. “We will re-emerge in a manner that recognizes COVID-19 will be around until there is an effective vaccine, treatment or both. That is why resocialization should be rolled out in a phased way that helps assure sustained low infection spread, as well as aids in the ability to quickly diagnose and isolate new cases.” 

More on the NCAA’s response to the COVID-19 response can be found here.

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