As basketball teams prepare to start their seasons, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced Friday that it is recommending players be tested for the coronavirus three times a week to maintain health and safety standards.
“This basketball resocialization guidance is based on the best information available in a rapidly changing COVID-19 environment,” NCAA President Mark Emmert said. “It is predicated on the assumption that rapid testing capabilities will be readily available later this year. We will constantly assess emerging information as we prepare for the start of the basketball season at the end of November.”
Approved for play just a few weeks ago, the NCAA’s increase in testing standards has grown from a once recommended one to two times per week to now three.
Players, coaches and any personnel who are in regular close proximity with athletes are all expected to be tested three times a week, non-consecutively throughout the season, per the NCAA’s guidelines.
Long Beach State athletic director Andy Fee said that securing testing still remains the most difficult component of preparing the teams for competition.
According to President Jane Close Conoley, the testing required will cost the university anywhere between $200 to $400 per athlete. With the new NCAA guidelines, the athletics department may be spending anywhere between $7,800 to $21,600 weekly to test Beach athletes alone.
By the end of the season, the department would have had to spend close to half a million dollars on testing just for student athletes. Testing for coaches and personnel could push the total cost over the $1 million mark.
“The guidelines reflect recommendations from collaboration with the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, which features representatives from across the membership,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline said. “We will continue to work with them and others from the association in safeguarding student athlete well-being.”