Athletes required to test for COVID-19 three times a week

NCAA suggests all institutions follow new testing guidelines


Sara Nevis

Summer Menke runs through a play and passes the ball to the wing during the women’s basketball team practice at The Nest at Sacramento State Oct. 27, 2020. Student athletes will be required to get tested for COVID-19 three times a week once their seasons begin.

Allisyn Mayhew

Sacramento State Athletics has released new health and safety guidelines that will require athletes to get tested for COVID-19 three times a week once games begin.

This requirement came after the NCAA suggested all men and women basketball players, their coaches and athletic officials at all institutions be tested three times a week as part of their health and safety guidelines, which were released Sep. 25. 

Bryce Fowler, senior forward for men’s basketball, said he and his teammates are not the biggest fans of being tested three times a week but it is out of their control. 

“We all came here to play basketball and this is almost like a job for us and we want to play and compete,” Fowler said. “It’s just something that we have to do and we’ll have to get used to it.” 

Fowler said he and his teammates have been tested once a week since the start of their official practices for the 2020-21 season, and are following other basic COVID-19 precautions including temperature checks before practices and wearing masks before and after leaving the gym.

“I understand especially once we start playing twice a week we will probably have to test once before each game and then before we travel or if we travel,” Fowler said. “So I mean it does seem a little bit excessive but I’m not a professional.” 

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Sac State junior guard Bryce Fowler shoots a free throw against Southern Utah at the Nest on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. Fowler says that the testing is out of him and his teammates control, however it is something that they’ll have to get used to.
(Luis Platero)

The men’s basketball team will kick off their season Nov. 25 against Bethesda University at home, and Fowler said he thinks they are doing everything they can to make it as safe as possible. 

Brandon Padilla, director of athletic training, said in an email there will be no fans allowed at games until further notice. 

“At this point and time we are not having fans at games,” Padilla said. “We are in constant communication with local health officials to determine [if] it is safe to have fans at games.” 

Padilla said any athlete who does not wish to participate in these testing protocols will have an option to opt out of the season per NCAA rules. 

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Brandon Padilla, director of athletic training (center), and others coordinated COVID-19 testing for Sac State student athletes in front of The WELL Nov. 3, 2020. The NCAA will require athletes to be tested three times a week once games begin. (Isabelle Juarez)

Junior volleyball outside hitter Claudia Wilson has been tested through Sac State before, but was surprised to hear these new testing requirements. She said she hopes testing so often will help get the team back into a normal routine. 

“Once I found out that there’s a possibility of getting tested three times a week, obviously I was surprised and not looking forward to that,” Wilson said. “However if getting tested three times a week will get us back into playing in games and getting back on a more normal schedule then I’m completely OK with it.” 

Wilson said she thinks testing three times a week will significantly prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

“It’s better to be over the top and safe than to not care at all,” Wilson said. “All athletes getting tested frequently will hopefully catch anyone positive quick enough to reduce the spread.”