As college football programs take off across the country, the NCAA is recommending different approaches for athletes depending on who is and is not vaccinated against the coronavirus.
The SMU Mustangs opened their 2021 football camp on Friday morning, hoping COVID-19 doesn’t put aside another season. Last year, the pandemic resulted in the cancellation of games, including a bowl game.
Head coach Sonny Dykes approached his players with a game plan to beat formidable opponent COVID-19.
“We asked them to help us mitigate as best as possible,” Dykes said. “We are over 90% vaccinated as a program. “
Dykes said he and his staff were all vaccinated as well.
Representatives of the football program told NBC 5 they will follow all local, state, conference and NCAA guidelines regarding COVID-19.
Again this week, the NCAA recommended weekly testing for unvaccinated college athletes. The guidelines also call on unvaccinated people to wear a mask in most situations and self-quarantine if they are positive or exposed to the virus.
“They are making the vaccines available to us if we can get them,” said Grant Calcaterra, SMU tight end. “I think everyone at SMU is handling this pretty well.”
EMS linebackers Shaine Hailey are among the players who won’t go through weekly testing after taking her mother’s advice and getting the shot.
“She has a big influence in my life. She really guides me on the health issue, ”Hailey said. “She just tells me to take my vitamin C, take my turmeric,” the good things that we need for our bodies. “Make sure you get the vaccine and you’ll be good to go. “
Dykes said many players were initially uncomfortable with the vaccine but remained open-minded. Many, he said, chose to be vaccinated for the “greater good” of the program.
“I think it shows their character and their willingness to sacrifice themselves for each other,” Dykes said. “There are some guys who probably won’t [get vaccinated], which I totally respect too.
Quarterback Tanner Mordecai, who transferred to SMU from OU, said he trusted team coaches and medics, but called the vaccination decision a personal one.
“If you feel like you need to get the vaccine, it’s totally a man’s or a woman’s choice. I don’t have a big opinion on it, ”he said. “It’s a personal preference. It’s a pretty sensitive topic for a lot of people, so it doesn’t matter what they feel comfortable with. I will not think differently from them.
In addition, unvaccinated people will not have access to the team changing rooms. They will not be allowed to attend team meals and will only be able to attend team meetings when masked and will need to socially distance themselves when possible, according to a spokesperson for EMS athletics.
“I hope we continue to vaccinate more people and that this small increase will slow down,” Dykes said.
The university has announced that masks will not be required on campus for fall 2021. However, faculty members will be allowed to apply for permission to require masks in their classrooms.
A recent survey was conducted among students who plan to live in university-owned accommodation.
Of the 80% who responded to the survey, more than 84% said they were fully or partially vaccinated or intended to be soon, according to an academic blog post.