Indiana State announced university-wide policies regarding its response to COVID-19 and fall planning, a university-wide initiative called Back On Track.

Within it, were the guidelines going forward for athletics.

The policy had detail on daily COVID screening for both athletes, coaches, administrators and visitors.

The first portion of it detailed screening procedures. Entrances and exits from various portions of the ISU athletic facilities will be strictly regimented. For example, entry to athletic administration offices will have a specific entry and exit door.

For athletes, there will be a screening each day they enter the athletic facility for practices or weightlifting. Athletic trainers in PPE gear will administer the screening.

The following will be required:

• A mandatory temperature check. If an athlete has a temperature above 100 degrees? They will be denied entry, they will be immediately be given PPE and a medical director will be consulted. The athlete will be placed in a physician’s office in the main athletic training room for evaluation and isolation. Anyone in the same vehicle would also be denied entry to the facility.

• There will be a mandatory daily COVID-19 questionnaire that will need to be completed before arriving at the screening site. Anyone with affirmative answers on the questionnaire will not be permitted into the facility. Athletes will be advised to consult athletic trainers, be subject to isolation and PPE. 

Non-athletes will be advised to seek medical advice from their professional if they fail the standards above.

Hand sanitizer will be available upon entry and exit from the facility and masks should be worn upon entering the screening location.

Recruits, visitors and media will need to give 48 hours notice before arriving on-campus to go through the screening process.

Failure on the temperature check or the COVID questionnaire would mean they would not be allowed inside the athletic facility.

The plan also details weightroom policy. ISU calls it the POD Strength and Conditioning Protocol. ISU has already initiated this process. A maximum of 12 student-athletes and two strength coaches can participate at any one time. The pods consist of roommates, where possible, and social distancing is practiced within the weightroom. Football has 10 pods, while men’s and women’s basketball have two pods. If ISU reaches Phase 3 of this process, the pod sizes will increase.

Finally, ISU detailed its student-athlete return policy, which has already begun. Phase 2 began earlier this week in which student-athletes were subject to daily screening and no one is allowed inside ISU athletic facilities except athletes, coaches, administrators and support staff, including athletic trainers and medical personnel.

Phase 3 is slated to start July 20 when practices will become permissible as things currently stand. ISU calls this phase the “new normal”. It is contingent on Indiana transitioning to Phase 5 of its own COVID response. Right now? Indiana is at Phase 4.5. In Phase 3, volleyball, soccer and cross country will join the athletes already on-campus, and there would still be significant restrictions on outsiders.

ISU has a target date of Aug. 17 for Phase 4 in which remaining athletic teams would begin activities.

Efforts to get comments from ISU Director of Athletics Sherard Clinkscales for these measures were unsuccessful.

Big Ten announcement — The Big Ten Conference announced on Thursday that it intends to cancel all of its nonconference games. While Indiana State has games scheduled against Big Ten Conference opponents for most of the 2020s, the current 2020 season does not have any Big Ten opponents on ISU’s calendar.

ISU’s buy game is at Conference USA’s Middle Tennessee State, scheduled for Sept. 12 in Murfreesboro, Tenn. MTSU itself has a game scheduled against Duke on Sept. 5. The Atlantic Coast Conference is considering doing the same thing as the Big Ten.

ISU plays Northwestern in 2021 before it starts a Purdue-Indiana rotation from 2022-27.

While ISU does not have any games that were canceled, several Missouri Valley Football Conference opponents did. The following Big Ten-MVFC games were canceled:

• Illinois State at Illinois, Sept. 4.

• Northern Iowa at Iowa, Sept. 5.

• Southern Illinois at Wisconsin, Sept. 12.

• South Dakota State at Nebraska, Sept. 19.

Todd Aaron Golden has been Sports Editor and Indiana State beat writer since September 2004. Born in Milwaukee but an Indiana resident most of his adult life, he previously worked in Jeffersonville, Columbus and Eau Claire, Wis.

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