GREENSBORO, N.C. (WTXL) — The Atlantic Coast Conference released a new set of rules for fall sports on Thursday as it pertains to COVID-19 rescheduling policies and vaccination status for the 2021-2022 season.
The sports of football, field hockey, men's and women's soccer and volleyball are all affected by these changes, with the biggest one regarding forfeits.
According to the ACC, if a game cannot be played due to the lack of available players related to COVID-19, the team will have to forfeit the game.
The full list of rescheduling rules can be found below:
- 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.
- 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 sports rescheduling policy shall apply.
- 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.
The conference has also updated its policies in regards to those who have been vaccinated and those who have not.
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 of 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.
“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.”