Adjustments could be coming to the Atlantic Coast Conference’s COVID-19 policies including game rescheduling.
That’s when the league’s athletic directors approved a revised policy for football and men’s and women’s basketball among other sports regarding testing protocols, mitigation strategies and the forfeiture of games amid the lingering coronavirus pandemic. Former Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich, who’s moved on to the University of Miami in the same role, said the conference’s athletic directors are going to meet Wednesday to discuss more potential alterations to the policies given the vaccination status of many of the ACC’s coaches and student-athletes.
“We may need to adjust our medical advisory group information as it relates to getting back to play,” Radakovich said Tuesday during his appearance on “Packer and Durham.” “It’s a very different circumstances today than it was even a year ago. A lot of people are vaccinated. A lot of athletic teams.”
As part of the league’s revised policy, teams that have a vaccination rate of at least 85% are required to test their unvaccinated players just once a week with a minimum of three tests per week required of unvaccinated individuals on teams with a vaccination rate any lower than that. Fully vaccinated individuals aren’t required to participate in surveillance testing.
But if an ACC team can’t play a contest on its originally scheduled date due to an insufficient number of available players because of COVID-related issues, the policy calls for that team to forfeit. In that scenario, the forfeiting team would be assigned a loss and the scheduled opponent a win that would both count in the league standings.
If both teams have COVID-19 issues that prevent them from playing on the originally scheduled date of their contest, each would have to forfeit and take a loss in the league standings, according to the current policy.
Radakovich said the forfeit policy will likely be “another piece” that’s discussed among the athletic directors.
“I think the forfeit policy was put into place back in the early fall to encourage student-athletes to get vaccinated because if you weren’t and your team did’t have the requisite players, your team would forfeit,” he said. “So it was something out there that was another encouragement for student-athletes to get vaccinated. Now, just as we’ve learned during this pandemic period, there’s new information, and there are new variants that are coming out. So we have to adjust this policy.”
The ACC made it through the football season without any of its conference games being affected by COVID-related issues. But with the United States seeing a surge in coronavirus cases recently, particularly those linked to the Omicron variant, the policy is already having an impact on the basketball season.
Multiple men’s basketball teams within the conference, including Florida State, Wake Forest and Boston College, have had games postponed or canceled. Wake Forest and Boston College were scheduled to play each other Wednesday, but that game has been canceled because of coronavirus-related issues within Boston College’s program.
With the forfeit, Boston College drops to 1-1 in ACC play. Wake Forest, assigned the win, moves to 2-0 in the league.
“The variant, while it hits, might not be as severe to those who are vaccinated, but we’ll hear a lot more about that in the next day or so from our medical advisory group and then look forward to making some decisions because (COVID-19) is still here,” Radakovich said. “It’s still prevalent. And we’ve got to be able to do as we’ve done in the last 18 to 20 months and navigate it to allow us to have a safe and competitive athletic season whether it was football in 2020 or 2021 and now basketball and moving into the spring sports.
“There’s a way to get it done. We’ve shown that can happen. We’ll just need to continue to adjust.”
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