The Atlantic Coast Conference Wednesday announced its 2021-22 COVID-19 game rescheduling policy and several key updates to protocols within the league’s COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group (MAG) report.
The policy, which was approved by the league’s athletics directors, applies to football, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball.
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 the win 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 sport 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 updated ACC Medical Advisory Group report includes accommodations for vaccinated individuals and institutional discretion to relax mitigation strategies based on team vaccination rate.
The report is the latest from the ACC Medical Advisory Group and follows a 2020-21 academic year in which the conference completed regular-season and postseason championship competition (where applicable) in each of its 27 sanctioned sports. The ACC has adhered to the guidelines put forward by the MAG, which has met frequently since May 14, 2020, to share information related to the impact of COVID-19 on college campuses and the return of college sports
The MAG is composed of an individual from each member institution and includes a cross-section of infectious disease experts, public health experts, campus student health experts, team physicians, athletic health care administrators, and a mental health expert.
“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.”
While 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 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.