The NCAA warned Thursday that if current trends with the coronavirus continue, fall sports might not happen.
"When we made the extremely difficult decision to cancel last spring's championships it was because there was simply no way to conduct them safely," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in a press release. "This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable. Today, sadly, the data point in the wrong direction. If there is to be college sports in the fall, we need to get a much better handle on the pandemic."
The NCAA's warning came as part of its third set of return-to-sports guidelines, which include testing within 72 hours of play for high-contact sports. The guidelines also mentioned daily self-health checks, social distancing both on and off the field and a reminder that member schools must adhere to health recommendations set by their communities.
"Any recommendation on a pathway toward a safe return to sports will depend on the national trajectory of COVID-19 spread," said Brian Hainline, NCAA chief medical officer.
UT athletic director Chris Del Conte has expressed hope in recent days that football will happen this fall as planned.
"I want to make one thing abundantly clear—financial ramifications and challenges will not play any part in our decision to play football or any of our sports," Del Conte wrote in the Forty Acres Insider Newsletter Tuesday. "If we can safely play under directives or guidelines that are established, we will. We continue to prepare for our seasons, and our teams that have been onboarded are training hard."
Austonia contacted UT Athletics for comment on the latest news from the NCAA, and has yet to receive a response.
Some UT players returned to campus last month for summer training. After returning, however, a growing number of them were diagnosed with COVID-19, causing some to have to quarantine just days after training began. So far, at least 13 players have tested positive for the virus, some of whom have been able to return to training.
Earlier today, Southwestern University near Houston canceled all fall sports except for football. The Ivy League canceled all fall sports last week.
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- UT plans on Longhorns football in fall 2020 - austonia ›
- Over a dozen UT football players test positive for COVID-19 - austonia ›
- Texas A&M, University of Texas systems expect to reopen in the fall ... ›
With a taste of MLS play under their belts, Austin FC is entering the second half of a scoreless inaugural match.
The club has been given some generous breaks from No. 2 LAFC, who had one or both of their star DPs out for the half. While forward Diego Rossi is out for the entire match due to a hamstring injury, Carlos Vela was accidentally pulled too soon on what turned out to be a miscommunication.
"He gave us the sign that he needed to come off," LAFC Head Coach Bob Bradley said on broadcast. "I can't say more than maybe it's my fault."
The two breaks aside, Austin FC has been holding their own against the match favorites. In the signature style of Head Coach Josh Wolff, the team has been quick and intense, nearly connecting on several fast breaks. ATXFC has also kept about equal possession with LAFC, although their shot attempts haven't been quite as nervewracking as the home team.
LAFC has given goalkeeper Brad Stuver some scares with 11 shot attempts, four of them on goal. By contrast, Austin FC has had five shots on goal.
LA has pulled some dramatics and slowly gained more possession throughout the half, but ATXFC's defense isn't as shaky as it seemed in preseason. Jhohan Romana has pulled his weight in getting the ball out of goal, and defensive midfielder Alex Ring has shown the qualities that make him captain as he leads his teammates through their first ever match.
Will Austin FC win against the odds? It's tough to tell, but Austonia will keep you updated!
It's matchday! Austin FC—Austin's first major league sport team—kicks off its debut season in Los Angeles today after years in the making. We know how much this means to our beloved city and are taking you along with us as we journey to LA!
Austin FC writer Claire Partain and I are excited to bring you game-day coverage straight from the City of Angels. Check back here for updates, and visit our socials: @austonianews for the latest.
5 p.m: Kickoff!
It's finally here! Claire will be updating Austonia's Twitter account live. And we'll post her game recap after the game. Best of luck Verdes!
4:40 p.m: Excitement radiates back home
Watch parties are in plenty supply back home. Austonia's Laura Figi visited Circle Brewing Co. and found a crowd of excited supporters.
4:20 p.m: Austin FC supporters are in the stadium
Although the Banc of California Stadium is hosting the match at limited capacity, we see some green in the stands ahead of kickoff. Just moments away from the Austin FC's debut!
~3:20 p.m: Austin FC's team bus enters the stadium grounds
With a warm welcome from Los Verdes, Austin FC players were welcomed into the Banc of California Stadium.
~1 p.m: Los Verdes in LA
(Rigo Rodriguez/Los Verdes)
Austin FC supporters are making their presence known in LA, including the Los Verdes group.
Los Verdes members started having match-day fun around the area this morning with brunch. We'll be joining them about an hour before the game outside the stadium to share some of their excitement. We'll post immediately to Austonia's Instagram.
11:45 a.m: We landed!
View from hotel room where we're staying; the stadium digital sign can be seen in the right corner. (Sonia Garcia/Austonia)
Switching over to pacific time, we're here and it's almost like no time went by. It's 9:45 a.m. here.
We've been in contact with Los Verdes, an Austin FC supporter group, who is also here in LA counting down to kickoff.
8:20 a.m: LA bound
Like many of you, we've been looking forward to this moment for, let's just say, a very long time. Today, we woke up bright and early, headed to Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and hopped on a flight to LA.
A gloomy day in Austin with a very quiet airport, we're headed to sunny skies in California.
As we wait for the game to start at 4:30 p.m., check out Claire's preview of the game with a predicted lineup and timeline of the long journey to get here.