The NCAA, which began allowing volunteer athletics activities at all Division I sports this month, approved Wednesday a plan for summer athletic activities and preseason practice for the upcoming 2020 college football season, scheduled for Aug. 29.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “If players are not necessarily in a bubble – insulated from the community, they will be tested every day – this is a soccer ball this fall. If it is, it’s certainly possible and complicated with the flu season, this year’s football may not happen. “
The NFL’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Allen Sills, said in a statement, “Dr. Fauci, together with the NFL Players Association, our joint medical advisors, have identified significant health and safety issues to reduce health risks. Players, coaches and other necessary personnel.”
“We are developing a comprehensive and fast-tracking test program and rigorous protocols that call for shared responsibility from everyone in our football ecosystem,” Sills added, adding that these plans are based on the collective guidance of public health officials and other leagues.
“Make no mistake, this is no easy task,” said Sills. “As we prepare to play the 2020 season as scheduled with increased protocols and safety measures for all players, staff and attendees, we make the necessary adjustments to meet the public health environment. We are comfortable and adaptable in this environment. We need the virus.”
Asked how positive training will affect the league’s plans in terms of initial training camps and the upcoming season, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell told ESPN on Monday, “We’re going to test positive, it is part of the increased testing that we have and that our protocols are working to this day.” We are seeing a lot of positive reactions. We want to make sure we respond quickly, protect the affected staff and others who are involved with them. “
In a memo in May, Goodell outlined protocols for gradually reopening team facilities, starting with limited employees and then moving on to players. The league was reopened earlier this month for coaches to return to training facilities.
In May, the NFL canceled all planned international games and moved them to the US because of the pandemic. The league previously planned to play four games in London and one in Mexico City.
If both the NFL and college football seasons are completed, the Super Bowl will be played in Tampa, Florida on February 7. The College Football Playoff National Championship Game will be held on January 11 at Miami Gardens, Florida.