Outdoor sports such as baseball, softball, track and golf are to maintain a regular season and can compete for a national championship this spring, according to assistant Athletic Director Abby Gearheart,
“Our outdoor sport teams use other venues as their home field, such as the VE Erikson Field and the Point Stadium.
“We will follow their protocol on fanbase. Wrestling was approved to take 10 wrestlers to regionals and those who win will advance to nationals.
“There will be no regular season in wrestling. All other sports will be able to practice but under strict circumstances and as a phased in approach.
“Athletes and coaches will undergo strict weekly testing. Some sports will be tested more than others due to their contact levels that may pose a higher risk. To start any practices, athletes will have to produce three negative tests.
“Athletes and coaches are to be masked whenever possible—this includes during practices (with the exception of an extremely rigorous drill/training).
“Athletic teams will begin in pods and will eventually phase into full team practices; but again, they will be tested weekly and will have serious contact tracing.
“The teams who are competing are held to travel restrictions such as no overnight stays, 50% bus capacity—with mask wearing and social distance minimum of 6 feet between each person, and only grab and go eating (no sit down team dinners).
“First and foremost, I want to thank my team and the administration here, specifically, Dr. Spectar, Dr. Ray Wrabley, Vice President Chris Stumpf, Athletic Director Pat Pecora, and our athletic trainers, Elissa Till and Rick May for their tireless work in making every effort to allow our athletes to participate in a safe and healthy manner.
“Day in and day out we agonized to find opportunity to allow our athletes compete as so many are across the NCAA, Professional leagues, and in high schools.
“Our priority has always been the health and safety of our student athletes. Protecting our athletes through COVID is also about protecting their families—specifically those members of their family who are more vulnerable.
“We recognize the weight of this burden in allowing them to compete and practice again, which is why we will take every preventative measure, test weekly, and be proactive in everything we do. We are all family down here.
“We expect each team to hold other teams in high esteem and in so doing they will be following strict protocol so that their brothers and sisters can compete.
“We are confident in the protocols and testing that we have in place along with the staff and coaches that are helping to make this happen,” Gearhart said.