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NCAA president: We need a better handle on the pandemic to play this fall


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Posted by Charean Williams on July 16, 2020, 4:33 PM EDT

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The NCAA released its third installment of return-to-sport guidelines Thursday, providing updated recommendations about the protection of athletes and prevention of community spread of COVID-19.

The recommendations include daily self-health checks, the use of face coverings and social distancing both in competition and outside of athletics and proposed testing within 72 hours of competition for high-contact risk sports.

“Any recommendation on a pathway toward a safe return to sport will depend on the national trajectory of COVID-19 spread,” Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer, said in a statement. “The idea of sport resocialization is predicated on a scenario of reduced or flattened infection rates.”

Several schools, most recently the University of Miami, have had to suspend workouts because of too many positive COVID-19 tests. The Pac-12 and Big Ten already have announced a conference-only schedule for all fall sports, and the Ivy League, MEAC and Patriot League already have called off football season.

No news would come as good news.

“When we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel last spring’s championships, it was because there was simply no way to conduct them safely,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement. “This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable. Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.”

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