NCAA Releases COVID-19 Guidelines Ahead of 2021 Season
With the college football season standing just a month away, the NCAA announced the COVID-19 guidelines for the 2021 campaign.
"These materials are meant to be consistent with guidance published by the federal government and its health agencies and reflect the relevant scientific and medical information available at the time of print," the NCAA said in its release.
The most notable aspect of the guidelines for this season is that players and coaches who have been fully vaccinated are not subject to regular testing unless they express symptoms or the individual comes in close contact with someone who does test positive for the virus.
On the other hand, unvaccinated players and coaches will be tested weekly during the season, three times a week during weeks without competition. Those tests will be PCR/NAAT (polymerase chain reaction/nucleic acid amplification test) tests and will be administered three days before competition.
However, if a team begins to display "sustained increased transmission," or concurrent positive tests of five percent of the team if the roster is larger than 50, or three players if it's less than 50.
For players and coaches that test positive for COVID-19 they must quarantine for 10 days and at least 24 hours have passed since the latest display of fever and the improvement of other related symptoms.
As for masking, no one is subject to masking, vaccinated or not, during practices or competition. However, all players and coaches must wear masks during travel. Vaccinated players must only wear masks during indoor activities, while unvaccinated players must wear masks during all non-athletic activities.
Each conference is still expected to release its own individual guidelines that will likely follow the NCAA's guidelines closely.
None of these guidelines override state law and are subject to local guidance. The full NCAA COVID-19 Guidelines for the 2021 season can be seen here.