Nevada taking cautious, phased approach to bring athletes back

Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 6:22 PM PDT
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With June having arrived, Division I universities across the country have the go-ahead from the NCAA to hold voluntary workouts on campus for football and men's and women's basketball teams.

At Nevada, the Wolf Pack is taking a slow approach. They've brought 31 students back to Reno - 20 football players, 6 men's basketball players & 5 from the women's basketball team. Those athletes are each self-isolating for two weeks before they can come to campus, where they'll be tested weekly for COVID-19.

"Everything we're doing is about Reno, it's about Northern Nevada and where we are with our situation with the Coronavirus," said Doug Knuth, Nevada's Athletic Director. "How we can get our athletes back here as quickly as possible, but as safely as possible."

There will be strict monitoring as athletes return and move around campus. Their temperatures will be taken at every building, hand sanitizing stations will be plentiful and the school has plans in place should an athlete test positive, including contact tracing and isolation protocols.

"I think we're not only following the NCAA guidelines, but also being more cautious and preventative," said Dr. Arthur A. Islas M.D., Nevada's Sports Medicine Fellowship Director. "Taking the best foot forward when it comes to preventing any spread of the virus that may exist."

Nevada hopes to bring those 31 initial athletes back by the middle of June. Their workouts cannot be run or monitored by coaches. If all goes well, the Wolf Pack hopes to have full squads back on campus by the middle of July.

The status of individual states, and thus, the nation as a whole, will determine if a fall sports season happens. But Knuth says he's growing more optimistic by the week.

"We as a community in Northern Nevada have done a really good job," said Knuth. "If we continue that trend, then I think we'll have a positive outcome."

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