NCAA releases guidelines for 2020 basketball season

WKU Hilltoppers vs. Louisville Cardinals, November 29, 2019 in Bridgestone Arena. 

Nick Kieser

The NCAA announced its safety guidelines Friday, Sept. 25, for the ensuing college basketball season. According to the updated guidelines basketball was listed as a high contact risk sport with regard to COVID-19. 

The full guidelines can be read here. 


The NCAA stated in the updated guidelines that schools are to work closely with applicable medical personnel to evaluate and discuss the benefits and limitations of each of these alternatives before finalizing a specific testing strategy. 

According to the testing section schools are encouraged to proactively pursue discussions with local hospitals and local CLIA labs.

There is to be nucleic acid amplification, antigen and PCR swab testings done throughout the duration of the season. 

Quidel’s Sofia and Sofia 2 testing will be used to obtain results in a timely manner. Abbott BinaxNOW is a new antigen test that is a folding card with a nasal swab test. The respective testing methods are to produce results within 15 minutes.

The guideline also suggests that if any Tier 1 individual is infected that the school should consider quarantining the entire team. This includes players from the team or a member of the coaching staff.

The transition period for basketball runs through Sept. 21 through Oct. 13. According to the countable athletically related activities section during the period when countable athletically related activities are occurring but before the preseason begins, surveillance testing should be considered for 25%-50% of student-athletes and Tier 1 individuals every two weeks if physical distancing, masking and other protective features are not consistently maintained. 

During the regular season COVID-19 testing is to occur three times a week. 

Quarantining and Travel

Athletes are to quarantine for 14 days and contact tracing will immediately follow to determine who was subject to high-risk exposure. 

Those who are not infected with COVID-19 but were at high risk of the virus may exercise individually if the exercise does not cause cardiopulmonary symptoms. 

When a team is to travel there is to be no more than 30 individuals and when feasible, traveling and playing on the same day to avoid overnight stays.


Since it would be assumed that the athletes and coaches test negative during the week and are already in close contact while on the court, it is suggested that they must observe physical distancing and universal masking while on the bench. 

Season Schedule 

The preseason period begins Oct. 14 and ends on Nov. 24. Testing is to occur weekly during this timeframe according to the guidelines. 

Following a vote from the NCAA Division I Council on Sept. 16 the 2020 regular season is to begin on Nov. 25. 

CDC recommendation guidelines 

Within the guidelines under the behavioral infection risk mitigation section there are listed recommendations in place from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Wash your hands before putting on your mask.

  • Put it over your nose and mouth and secure it under your chin.

  • Try to fit it snugly against the sides of your face.

  • Make sure you can breathe easily.

  • Masks with exhalation valves or vents should not be worn to help prevent the person wearing the mask from spreading COVID-19 to others (source control).

Sports Editor Nick Kieser can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Nick on Twitter at @KieserNick.