Earlier this month, the NCAA released its COVID-19 guidelines for all sports (including college baseball), and on Wednesday the ACC offered a look ahead to the college baseball season. Both the NCAA and the ACC labelled college baseball as a "medium" risk sport, as opposed to "high" risk sports like football and volleyball or "low" risk sports like golf and tennis.
The NCAA provided guidelines for the return of athletes to campus, but the ACC went one step farther and outlined minimum requirements that all ACC institutions must abide by in order to compete in athletics.
According to the ACC COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, the following are the most relevant guidelines for college baseball:
"All members of the respective team and those that are in close contact with the team shall be tested every other week beginning with the week of the first competition against an opposing team."
"Test[s] must be administered within three (3) calendar days of the first competition of the week (e.g., Wednesday test prior to a Saturday game)"
"In all sports, all individuals (e.g., coaches, athletic trainers, non-coaching personnel) permitted in the team bench area shall wear a face covering."
"In all sports, student-athletes in the team bench area shall wear a face covering while not in the game."
The ACC COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group is comprised of medical experts representing each of the 15 member institutions of the ACC.
Beyond testing and face covering rules, the full extent of the COVID-19 pandemic on college baseball will likely not be realized until there is more clarity around the revenue impact from potential changes to the college football season. North Carolina State has already withdrawn from the 2021 Round Rock College Classic due to budget concerns. It is likely that both the health and economic impact of COVID-19 will impact college baseball scheduling next season.
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