We went a long stretch of our lives without really having to think about things like CDC guidelines regarding sports. This year, we think about them constantly. By this point, you’re probably aware that there have been different pockets of players missing games in sports, especially college football. Some have tested positive, while others have missed games due to contact tracing. It now appears that restrictions regarding the latter will subside a bit because of new CDC guidance.
“According to a senior administration official, the new guidelines, which are set to be released as soon as Tuesday evening, will allow people who have come in contact to someone infected with the virus to resume normal activity after 10 days, or 7 days if they receive a negative test result,” the AP reports. “That’s down from the 14-day period recommended since the onset of the pandemic.”
Thus, the isolation window is being cut in half for athletes who are exposed but test negative.
Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated reports that college officials say that a “vast majority” of college football players who have missed games have missed them due to contact tracing, not positive tests. “This [new CDC guidance] is big news, especially for basketball season and as we finish play in football the next month and a half,” West Virginia AD Shane Lyons told Dellenger. Other college sports officials quoted in the story are more cautious than Lyons, but it’s hard to see the NCAA ultimately keeping players out twice as long as the CDC recommends.
This hasn’t been as big a deal in the NFL as it has been in college football because the NFL quarantined close contacts for five days as opposed to 14.
College football may be winding down, but it’s nonetheless good news that contact tracing will have less of an impact on the stretch run, conference title games, the playoffs, and bowl season than it did on the past few months. It’s also good news for college hoops.