By Matt Noonan
With a brand new season of college football — and yes, other fall sports, too — quickly approaching, the NCAA has released new guidance for the upcoming fall season for both practices and games as Covid-19 continues to impact our daily lives.
The organization’s document — the 2021 Fall Training and Competition document — highlights “testing, quartine, isolation, and other athletic and nonathletic activity consideration” for those that are vaccinated and unvaccinated that fall under Tier 1, which include student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, equipment staff, and officials.
“Current vaccination rates remain inadequate to provide community-level immunity,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline said in a statement. “It is essential that member schools work in concert with federal, state, and local public health officials to develop Covid-19 prevention and management strategies that make sense for them.”
The biggest concern for the NCAA is the delta variant, which is “highly transmissible,” but can also be contracted by fully vaccinated individuals that can shed the virus to others around them.
Today’s guidance will certainly impact those who are vaccinated differently from those who have yet to receive a shot. And one of those differences revolves around testing as those who are unvaccinated will need to test three times per week while vaccinated student-athletes, coaches, and team representatives won’t need to unless they are “symptomatic, or based on a risk assessment of a documented close contact with Covid-19.”
As of today, we’re 24 days away from “Week 0” of the 2021 college football season and 31 days away from the opening weekend.