ACC: If team doesn’t have enough players, due to COVID, they’ll forfeit

College Sports

November 20, 2020; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; Syracuse Orange head coach Dino Babers welcomes Syracuse Orange defensive back Ben Labrosse (28) to the sideline during the first half of play at Cardinal Stadium. Jamie Rhodes-ACC Pool

CHARLOTTE (THE ACC) — The Atlantic Coast Conference announced today its 2021-22 COVID-19 Game Rescheduling Policy and several key updates to protocols within the league’s COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group (MAG) Report.

The COVID-19 Game Rescheduling Policy, which was approved by the league’s athletics directors, applies to football, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball.

2021-22 ACC COVID-19 Game Rescheduling Policy

In the sports of football, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and volleyball:

  1. If a 2021 ACC game cannot be played on its originally scheduled date by a team unable to play due to an insufficient number of available players related to COVID-19, that team shall be deemed to have forfeited, with a loss assigned to the team unable to play and a win assigned to its scheduled opponent, with both the loss and win, respectively, applied to the conference standings.
  2. If a 2021 ACC game cannot be played on its originally scheduled date due to any factor(s) directly associated with a Game Discontinuation Consideration as listed in the current ACC Medical Advisory Group (MAG) Report, the Conference’s sport rescheduling policy shall apply.
  3. If a 2021 ACC game cannot be played on its originally scheduled date due to both teams being unable to play due to an insufficient number of available players related to COVID-19, both teams shall be deemed to have forfeited, with a loss assigned to both teams and applied to the conference standings.

Updated ACC Medical Advisory Group Report

The updated MAG report includes accommodations for vaccinated individuals and institutional discretion to relax mitigation strategies based on team vaccination rate.

The updated report is the latest from the ACC Medical Advisory Group and follows a 2020-21 academic year in which the conference completed regular-season and postseason championship competition (where applicable) in each of its 27 sanctioned sports. The ACC has adhered to the guidelines put forward by the MAG, which has met frequently since May 14, 2020, to share information related to the impact of COVID-19 on college campuses and the return of college sports.

“The ACC’s Medical Advisory Group continues its tireless efforts to deliver meaningful protocols that will provide a healthy and safe environment for our student-athletes and teams,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips. “As a conference, we are extremely proud of the significant progress and overall high rates of vaccination among student-athletes, coaches and staff. The continued resilience, commitment and sacrifice by our student-athletes is inspiring, and we look forward to watching them compete at the highest level.” 

The MAG is comprised of an individual from each member institution and includes a cross-section of infectious disease experts, public health experts, campus student health experts, team physicians, athletic health care administrators and a mental health expert. 

“The Medical Advisory Group has adjusted protocols based on the lessons learned last year, the availability of vaccines and the current state of the pandemic,” said Dr. Cameron Wolfe, Chair of the ACC Medical Advisory Group and member of the infectious disease division at Duke University Medical Center. “We will continue to work closely with local public health to ensure our protocols and efforts are synchronized. Just like last year, there may be a need to adjust as the pandemic evolves and we will be prepared to do so in the best health interests of our student-athletes.”

While fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to participate in a surveillance testing regime under the latest revisions, testing must still be administered to unvaccinated student-athletes, coaches and sport support staff who have significant interaction with student-athletes, individuals designated in a team’s travel party and anyone else who is in regular close contact with student-athletes, as determined by the institution. 

Unvaccinated individuals on a team with a vaccination rate less than 85 percent, must be tested a minimum of three times per week with a molecular (PCR) test. Unvaccinated individuals on a team with a vaccination rate at or greater than 85 percent, must be tested once per week. Additional testing of unvaccinated individuals is at the discretion of the institution.

Teams that have a vaccination rate of 85 percent or higher among their student-athletes, and have no active cases, may relax mitigation strategies around team activities (e.g., spacing/masking in meetings, at meals, while traveling). In all sports, the masking of any individual, vaccinated or unvaccinated, (student-athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, non-coaching personnel, officials) permitted in the team bench area or within the playing enclosure will be at the discretion of the home institution.

COURTESY OF THE ACC

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