The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Thursday the updated protocols for winter sports within the league’s Medical Advisory Group Report.
The report specifically addresses enhanced safety standards and testing measures in basketball, wrestling and sports with low transmission risks.
“The ACC’s Medical Advisory Group, in conjunction with our campus administrators and student-athletes, continues to do outstanding work to provide a safe environment in which our teams can compete,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “I applaud all of our student-athletes as they continue to persevere through these challenging times.”
The ACC’s Medical Advisory Group has been meeting weekly since the spring to share information on the impact of COVID-19 on ACC campuses and intercollegiate athletics. The first MAG report was released on July 29 (ACC Announces Plans for Football and Fall Olympic Sports) and enhanced on Aug. 28 (ACC Enhances Safety Standards within its Medical Advisory Group). The MAG report outlines minimum standards for each campus to follow in the areas of testing, reporting positive test results and cleaning and sanitizing competition areas.
Thursday’s updated MAG Report calls for all team members and those in close contact with the teams in men’s and women’s basketball and wrestling to be tested three times each week on non-consecutive days. One molecular (PCR) test must be administered within three days of the first competition of the week. The visiting team must have results from the test performed within three days prior to the competition before the team travels to the site. A test shall also be administered within 48 hours of the conclusion of a game and may be either a molecular (PCR) or antigen test.
Men’s and women’s basketball officials will be required to test three times per week and will undergo symptom and temperature checks upon arrival at the venue. Any personnel seated at the scorer’s table(s) must complete a symptom and temperature check upon arrival at the venue and must wear a face covering at all times. Wrestling officials shall be tested once per week.
While in season, any team member who leaves the institution for more than three days (for example, an NCAA-mandated holiday break), must enter quarantine for 24 hours upon return to campus. During the quarantine, team members will be tested with a molecular test and may return to practice if and when the result is negative. In addition, team members must record a second negative test (either PCR or antigen) prior to the first competition following the break.
In sports with low transmission risks, all team members must be tested once per week during weeks in which there is competition. The test must be a molecular test and must be completed within three calendar days of the first competition of the week. During weeks in which the sport does not compete, testing should follow the institution’s plan for all students following local, state and national health guidance.
Additional testing may be conducted at the institution’s discretion. Any table officials in those sports are required to wear a face mask.
As previously announced, every student-athlete who tests positive will undergo a cardiac evaluation that includes an electrocardiogram, a troponin test and an echocardiogram before a phased return to exercise.
In addition to the updated ACC MAG report, the ACC has significantly adjusted its 2020-21 men’s and women’s basketball game management protocols. Specifically, there must be a minimum of 15 feet separating the general public and the areas on the court occupied by essential personnel such as the team bench and the scorer’s table. Individuals deemed essential to have access within the 15-foot perimeter will be required to meet specific and consistent health and safety standards as agreed upon by all 15 schools, including a temperature screening, symptom check, physical distancing and masking.