In its attempt to bring its student-athletes back to campus
John Swofford believes testing for COVID-19 is going to be critical for college athletics to return this coming fall.
The Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner met with The Clemson Insider Thursday, and other ACC media members, during a virtual conference call to discuss the options and the many scenarios his conference has gone over in the last two weeks, as it wrapped up its annual spring meetings.
This year’s spring meetings, which are normally held in Amelia Island, Fla., were held virtually.
“One of the things I think college athletics can learn from is whatever happens with the professional leagues this summer, whether it’s the NBA or Major League Baseball or the NFL,” Swofford said when asked what the testing protocol for the ACC could look like. “The commissioners were on a lengthy call with the NFL last week with Commissioner [Roger] Goodell and a half dozen or so of his staff. So, we may benefit from some of the things that are done, even before the NFL gets back into camp and plays under whatever circumstances they may play in. But there are things that can be learned there.
“But I do think the testing is going to be critical to our ability to get back and bring our student-athletes back together and train and prepare for a season and then play a season.”
Swofford indicates conference commissioners have long had a relationship with Goodell and the NFL brass. The groups usually meet socially during the College Football Hall of Fame Ceremony each December in New York City.
“There is a relationship there that is already established,” Swofford said. “I think the NFL can be helpful to us and I ultimately think we can be helpful to the NFL, too, in terms of sharing information.”
Swofford said it helps that the NFL is already ahead of college football in terms of how it is handling COVID-19 and developing protocols on how they will bring its players back, how it will test players, how it handles stadium issues and if fans can come into the stadium and, if they can, how many.
“They have to deal with different state legislation just like we may have to deal with that, and from a medical standpoint, we can certainly learn from them as they move into their training camps and playing games,” the ACC’s Commissioner said. “Their cycle is ahead of ours. It is in front of ours and so, there is an opportunity, even though there are certainly differences without question. We are not going to take a team, in college athletics, and quarantine them in a hotel until they play a game. Whereas professional sports may do that, I don’t know.
“But there are certainly things with that connection that can benefit, going both ways. We will keep those lines of communications open and see what we can learn as they go back into training camps and preparing to play a season ahead of us. That can be a good thing in terms of us seeing what works well and understanding what may not work so well and seeing how it can apply to the college game.”
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