This semester our athletic department has had to cancel or postpone two at home sporting events. The home swim and dive meet, which would’ve taken place last week, and the women’s tennis match against Jacksonville State staged for this past weekend was pushed back to March.
With the new rules currently in place there are many boxes each team must check for an event to run as scheduled.
“When you’re looking at events, you’re looking at the positivity rate amongst the team itself. Also, then you factor in the amount of injuries the sport already has. How many people do you have, can you compete, can you compete safely for the student athletes,” said Clouse
The swim and dive meet has been the only event canceled due to a safe number of student athletes not being able to compete It takes coaches, administrators, and health professionals combined to make a decision to cancel an event. Protocols and guidelines are given to the athletic department from the NCAA and Sunbelt, this includes when and how often players and coaches are tested.
“So, everyone has to be tested every seven days and 72 hours before the first competition of that week, if you are unvaccinated or not up to date. They only get tested once a week now. Last year it was a lot more. Any indoor sports were getting tested three times a week and then baseball and softball also,” Clouse said.
Under the new CDC guidelines players vaccinated and unvaccinated who test positive must quarantine for at least five days. After the five-day period players proceed differently depending on their symptoms and level of severity.
“When they come out, they see a doctor to go over their symptoms, how they’re feeling, and they get an examination,” said Clouse. “If it’s moderate symptoms they have to get an EKG and they have to get bloodwork done. As long as the EKG and the blood work come back fine, they can proceed to their return to play process.”
We reached out to other coaches and Athletic Director Jared Benko to be included in our story. The athletic department declined to let anyone but Clouse comment on our story.