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State Already Following New NCAA 'Return-to-Sport' Guidelines

Among the latest guidelines released by the NCAA's Sport Science Institute are daily self-health checks, the use of masks and test results within 72 hours of competitions in high risk sport, much of which NC State is already doing

The NCAA Sport Science Institute released its latest "return-to-sport" guidelines on Thursday, a set of updated recommendations designed to protect athletes and prevent the community spread of COVID-19.

This is third such update since the NCAA announced its six-week football preseason plan last month.

Among the "specially crafted guidelines" for sports that require close personal contact are:

  • Daily self-health checks;
  • The use of face coverings and social distancing during training and competition, as well as off-the-field endeavors;  
  • Testing strategies for all athletics activities, including pre-season, regular season and post-season.
  • Testing and results within 72 hours of competition in high contact risk sports.

“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.”

The recommendations were developed in collaboration with the NCAA COVID-19 Advisory Panel among others, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

In addition to the NCAA guidelines, schools are required to adhere to the public health standards set by their local governments.

According to NC State spokesman Fred Demarest, many of the lastest set of recommendations are already being practiced by the Wolfpack in their workouts both voluntary and organized.

"We are pretty close on most," Demarest said in response to an inquiry by SI's All Wolfpack. "Some of these are specific to competition, but to the premise of what's currently in place, we're currently doing most of this."

State has done a better job of mitigating the spread of the virus than many of its neighboring rivals.

Last week, it reported that only five of the 315 athletes, coaches and staff members  tested since May 29 have come back positive. By contrast, rival North Carolina suspended its football team's workouts after reporting 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among 452 tests performed.

East Carolina has also halted its preparations because of a similar cluster of positive coronavirus cases.

Demarest said that there is “no change in (State's) current status” as it moves forward toward a season that may or may not start on time. If at all.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced their intention to play a conference only schedule while othes lesser conferences, including the Ivy League and Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, have shut down all athletic activities through the end of the calendar year.

The ACC has yet to decide how it will proceed. On Friday, commissioner John Swofford issued a statement saying that several possible scenarios are being considered and that the conference will wait until the end of the month before making any determinations.

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