Ouch! After a contentious 2020 college football season that led to dozens of canceled and rescheduled games, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) is putting its foot down for 2021. Going into the second COVID-19 school year, teams will face severe consequences for failing to follow CDC guidelines and reduce the spread to their team.
What Are the New Rules for Teams in 2021?
Similar to most sports regulations, the rules vary depending on if you’re vaccinated or not. Unvaccinated football players have to test three times a week. Next comes masks. According to the new rules, vaccinated players must still wear masks indoors, but they’re okay outside. However, unvaccinated team members are required to wear their masks inside and out.
Do Teams Have Separate COVID Regulations?
Different teams and conferences in the NCAA have separate rules. For example, the Big Ten announced that any team that doesn’t have enough eligible players to play would forfeit the game. No more rescheduling or exceptions to the rules. The NFL made a similar decision earlier in the year. More conferences and sports leagues are expected to make similar statements.
Rules for Fans
With so many teams, it’s impossible to cover each stadium in a short article. However, most schools across the country are mandating students get vaccinated to attend classes. As of August, a few of the dozens of schools have announced full vaccination requirements for game attendance.
These include Syracuse, Tulane, and Oregon and Oregon State. As of now, most non-student fans aren’t required to show proof of vaccination to attend games in the NCAA. That could change depending on how quickly the virus spreads this fall.
But that’s not true for the professional leagues. Some NFL teams are opting only to allow vaccinated fans into their home games. Nonetheless, many sports arenas are expected to impose mask rules and distancing for fans.
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What Do the Vaccination Levels Look Like in the NCAAF?
While a few teams are fully vaccinated, the college system as a whole doesn’t look good.
NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline explained, “Current vaccination rates remain inadequate to provide community-level immunity.”
Hainline continues to stress, “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.”
But some schools are striving ahead of the rest. Ole Miss, Boston College, and Arizona all have a 100% vaccination rate!
One thing’s for sure during the 2021-22 NCAA football season, sports fans and teams will see far fewer cancellations as everyone works to avoid exposure and prevent costly forfeits. However, as more teams are fully vaccinated, sports will bring the world closer to normalcy.