COLUMBIA, Mo (KMIZ)
The NCAA released additional requirements schools must meet in order to participate in any sort of fall postseason play this fall.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said the health and safety is their primary concern.
“Student-athletes should never feel pressured into playing their sport if they do not believe it is safe to do so," he said in a press release. "These policies ensure they can make thoughtful, informed decisions about playing this fall.”
The requirement hit four main areas of concern: opt out options, eligibility, medical expenses, and reporting.
First and foremost, all programs have to follow the NCAA's "return-to-sport guidelines," which were released in July.
The NCAA said it will be setting up a hotline for student-athletes and families to report any failure to follow safety precautions by the school.
Once a report is made, conference administrators will be expected to take immediate action.
Much like professional leagues around the country, athletes will have the option to opt out of the 2020-2021 season. If an athelte does choose to opt out, the University has to honor their scholarship.
The NCAA added that divisions must what kind of eligibility accommodations will be made for athletes that do opt-out by August 14.
"College athletes and their families must know what their eligibility status will be before beginning the fall season," the report said.
As for medical expenses, student-athletes will not pay for any COVID-19 related expenses out of their own pockets.
In order for the postseason to happen, the NCAA said that championship games need to be held with extra safety precautions.
Most postseason play will most likely feature less teams and a shorter outcome.
However, a sport will not play in a postseason or championship if 50 percent of eligible teams cancel their fall seasons.
"First and foremost, we need to make sure we provide a safe environment for college athletes to compete for an opportunity to play in NCAA championships," Emmert said. "A decision based on the realities in each division will provide clarity for conferences and campuses as they determine how to safely begin the academic year and the return of sports."
The NCAA has a full list of guidelines for schools and conferences on its website.