As student-athletes begin to return to college campuses for voluntary workouts, schools are putting precautions into place to make sure those student-athletes are protected.
According to 247 Sports, the Pac-12 is taking a strict approach as it nears allowing voluntary workouts on June 15. Member institutions will be required to test student-athletes not just for COVID-19, but also for COVID antibodies — a stance that makes them unique among Power 5 conferences.
“We are going to have uniformity in the Pac-12,” conference commissioner Larry Scott told 247 Sports. “We’ve got a very strong medical advisory committee made up of our team docs and trainers. But we've got seven or eight infectious disease experts that are associated with these great university hospitals and medical research centers. They have specialists in this area and the collaboration has been terrific.”
No other Power 5 conference has announced a uniform approach to testing. Meanwhile, other institutions have said student-athletes will only be subject to testing if they exhibit symptoms or if they’re returning to campus from a coronavirus ‘hot spot’ as identified by the CDC — New York, New Jersey, Connecticut or New Orleans.
In addition, the Pac-12 will test student-athletes for COVID-19 weekly as preseason practices draw closer.
“The idea of checking symptoms, it’s too late if you’ve got a symptom,” Scott said. “You've probably been infectious a few days before. And so for that reason and others, there will be testing. There is also going to be antibody testing for all student-athletes when they come back for a couple reasons: first and foremost, if you had the virus, there's a heightened level of concern with cardiac and lung (health). There's going to be other screenings and protocols.”
Scott said that while coming to a consensus will be a hurdle, he feels that it’s important to have specific protocols in place for game-weeks.
“That's going to require a level of collaboration and agreement,” Scott said. “That is not always so easy in college sports but I think people realize the importance of it and I'm optimistic we'll get there.”