NCAA offers guidance for bringing athletes back to campus

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FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, West Virginia players high-five fans after defeating Kansas 38-22 in an NCAA college football game in Morgantown, W. Va. The crippling coronavirus pandemic has brought the entire world including the sports world to a standstill, and it shows no sign of going away anytime soon. That has left fans, stadium workers, team owners, sponsors and yes, even players, wondering what life will be like when games finally resume. (AP Photo/Craig Hudson, File)

The NCAA released a long and detailed plan Friday to help schools bring back athletes to campus during a pandemic.

While schools will need to have testing and surveillance plans in place, the guidance does not recommend testing all athletes upon arrival for COVID-19.

“There's not a universal, easy fit guidance like that,” said Dr. Brian Hainline, the chief medical officer for the NCAA. “Even when we speak with epidemiologist who are doing mathematical modeling and so forth, we just aren't there yet."

The Resocialization of Collegiate Sports: Action Plan Considerations was announced as schools across the country prepare for the return of football players as early as next week. Hainline said the latest guidance was a more granular follow-up to the three-phase recommendations handed down May 1.

The NCAA’s Division I Council voted last week to lift a moratorium on athletic activities starting Monday. That cleared the way for voluntary workouts and training to begin at team facilities.

Schools have already started putting plans in place to test athletes, coaches and staff for coronavirus and implement social distancing. The NCAA says its plan is offered as guidance, consistent with federal and local public health guidelines.

Shortly before the NCAA released its guidelines, the University of North Carolina posted on social media its plan to bring athletes back to campus.

North Carolina said it plans to test all returning football and basketball players and try to have players congregate in small groups.