U of L athletics to follow guidelines developed by ACC Tuesday, Aug 18 2020 

By Cole Emery–

The University of Louisville Athletics is working collaboratively with the protocols developed by the ACC’s Medical Advisory Group. 

Since mid-May, the MAG has met weekly to share information in relation to the impact of COVID on college campuses and the return of college sports.

They released an official minimum standards report at the end of July. This report included the minimum COVID testing standards and a standard for reporting positive tests to opponent teams.

The MAG comprises of each member institution in the ACC and includes a cross-section of infectious disease experts, public health experts, campus student health experts, team physicians, athletic health care administrators and a mental health expert. 

Minimum Testing Standards

Currently, all medically appropriate weekly tests for all sports shall be molecular (PCR) testing with FDA approval or Emergency Use Authorization.

For football, all team members, and those that are in close contact with team members, shall be tested each week beginning with the week of the first competition against an opposing team. The tests must be administered within three days before the match.

For volleyball, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, men’s/women’s lacrosse, men’s/women’s basketball, rowing and wrestling, all team members and those in close contact with the team members will be tested every week beginning with the week of the first competition against an opposing team. 

For baseball, softball and cross country, all team members and those in close contact with the team members will be tested every other week beginning with the week of the first competition against an opposing team. The tests must be administered within three calendar days of the first competition of the week. 

For golf, tennis, fencing, track and field, and swimming/diving, regular testing would not be required, but testing of symptomatic members would be required.

Additional testing may be administered at the institution’s discretion so long as calendar day requirements are met.

Standards for reporting positive test results

In all sports, all positive test results of any team member who came into close contact (within six feet for at least 15 minutes) with any member(s) of any opposing team(s) played during the preceding 48 hours shall be shared as quickly as possible, but no later than 24 hours following the receipt of the positive test to any applicable opponent(s). 

The infected individual’s role as a team member and a summary of their interactions with the opposing team shall be included in the information sharing. Unless authorized by the individual or otherwise required by law, the individual’s name may not be shared with the opposing team(s). 

As information regarding the virus, testing and public health mitigation strategies evolve, the recommended minimum standards set forth by the MAG are subject to be adjusted.

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Five months later, social distancing still applies Tuesday, Aug 18 2020 

By Grace Welsh–

There’s no debating that the last five months of our lives have been full of uncertainty and confusion. We are living through events that no one alive has experienced before.

With the start of a new school year and students returning to campus, the temptation to socialize in big groups is strong. However, it is imperative that we limit these gatherings for the sake of our community. 

Earlier this month, an off-campus party was linked to 29 cases of COVID-19 in U of L athletes. Officials in the department have suspended workouts for men and women’s soccer, field hockey, and volleyball for the next week. They have also dismissed the three men’s soccer members that were responsible for organizing the party.

In a press release last Tuesday, U of L’s Athletic Director Vince Tyra said he was disappointed by the athletes actions. 

“It is clear that these student-athletes did not meet the code of conduct of the university or their team,” Tyra said. “Ignoring the safety protocols issued by federal, state and local officials, as well as the athletic department, is unacceptable and dangerous. Their history of actions are not in alignment with the values of this university and athletics department.” 

A majority of the 29 cases were asymptomatic, but the virus is not something to be messed with. 

The CDC reports that older individuals and those with weakened immune systems are at a higher risk for long-term respiratory, cardiovascular and kidney damage from the virus. So, while you may be fine if you contract the virus, others may not be. 

“Time and time again, it’s shown that transmission is ongoing before we have a grasp of the numbers,” said Erin Welsh, a candidate in disease ecology and host of This Podcast Will Kill You. “This is due to slow testing, transmission before symptoms, and the high numbers of asymptomatic individuals.” 

Because of the high rate of asymptomatic cases, it is impossible to tell who is infected and who is not without a test. Therefore, it is best to keep the parties to an absolute minimum. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear highly encourages gatherings of no more than 10 people. 

A party with just one or two infected individuals can be deadly when the newly infected people go out in the community.

We don’t know how long it will take for things to return back to normal. Until then, it’s important that we do our part to exercise necessary health precautions. Wash your hands frequently, wear a mask in public and stay at least six feet apart from others. 

We are all in this together.

Let’s all put in the effort to stay home so we can protect our community and slow the spread. While it is definitely tempting to socialize with everyone you missed over quarantine, that doesn’t mean the virus isn’t still a prevalent part of our lives.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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U of L introduces new student ticket system, Flight 23 Thursday, Aug 29 2019 

By Matthew Keck–

University of Louisville students will have a new option for getting entrance into sports games starting this fall.

U of L athletics introduced a new ticket subscription service, Flight 23, that will only cost students $10 a month. This will allow students entrance to every regular season home game for any sport, including men’s basketball and football. Flight 23 will replace the old system of student season tickets.

Erika Fitzgerald, director of ticket operations at U of L, said that there is room for 1200 students to sign up for Flight 23 but that number can fluctuate. She said this system is first come first serve and that a student may not get tickets if a game sells out or they claim their ticket late.

Flight 23’s introduction will also be saving students money on tickets. Before, students could purchase season tickets for men’s basketball and football for $210. This saves students over $100 a year, and gains them entrance into other sporting events aside from basketball and football.

As a part of Flight 23’s membership, students must keep their membership for a minimum of 10 months. If they decide to cancel their membership early they will be charged with a fee that can range from $10 to $90 depending on how early they cancel.

One of the perks students get with this membership is being eligible to enroll in the Student Cardinal Athletic Fund. When enrolled in SCAF students will receive priority seating and will accumulate priority points at double the rate of donors.

U of L athletics has also partnered with raiseRED, a philanthropic organization at U of L that raises awareness for pediatric cancer and blood disease. They are donating $2 for each student that attends football games and $1 for men’s basketball. The total donations can reach up to $10,000 for football and $20,000 for basketball.

Men’s basketball and football tickets will be distributed through the claim on the Cards Mobile App game-by-game. Tickets for all other sporting events will be distributed first come first serve at the games with a student ID.

Students can see a seating arrangements and more details about the reward program at GoCards.com/Students.

Matthew Keck // The Louisville Cardinal 

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