NCAA Provides Strict Conditions Schools Must Follow If Fall Sports Are To Return
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NCAA is putting the student-athletes first amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
NCAA Board of Governors has told conferences and divisions they must follow “specific requirements” if they are to conduct fall sports during the preseason, regular season, and postseason.
The highlights of the specific requirements include all athletic departments must follow the “return-to-sport” guidelines the NCAA Sport Science Institute set for all athletic activity. Those guidelines lay out specific testing requirements that could prove to be very costly for departments outside the Power 5 conferences.
“Our decisions place emphasis where it belongs — on the health and safety of college athletes,” said NCAA president Mark Emmert.
“Our decisions place emphasis where it belongs — on the health and safety of college athletes.”
– NCAA President Mark Emmert pic.twitter.com/bIbVqiJM4V
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) August 5, 2020
The requirements also include protection for student-athletes to opt-out of participating in the fall sports season due to concerns about contracting COVID-19. Colleges are not allowed to require student-athletes to waive their legal rights regarding COVID-19 as a condition of athletics participation.
For schools that are not following these guidelines, the NCAA is setting up a phone number and email to allow college athletes, parents or others to report alleged failures of these guidelines by athletic departments.
One of the big talking points regarding opt-outs has been, eligibility. What happens to a student-athlete’s eligibility if they do opt-out of a season. The NCAA is taking that into account as well stating that each division in the NCAA must determine no later than August 14th the eligibility accommodations that will be made for student-athletes opting out.
All of this from the NCAA comes at a time where reports have surfaced that the Power 5 conferences have had discussions about fielding their own championships for fall sports if the NCAA is not able to accommodate. The Autonomous Five as the NCAA calls them would be given more power and it could potentially lead to an eventual break off from the NCAA altogether.
Also, student-athletes are making their voices heard more than ever with football players in Pac-12 Conference creating a #WeAreUnited movement that seeks to bring safety and protection for players during the pandemic.