FBS ‘Week Zero’ showcases college football Covid-19 precautions in action

A game official wears a face mask as players warm up Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, for an NCAA college football game in Hattiesburg, Miss., between South Alabama and Southern Mississippi. Associated Press

by Will Chamblee | Sports Writer

College football is back! Last weekend the FBS played its first round of games, which has been christened ‘Week Zero’.

Numerous new COVID-19 policies were used throughout the nation that Baylor football will put into use for their upcoming season opener this Saturday. Week Zero gave everyone, Baylor included, an opportunity to see the effectiveness and changes that the new protocols brought about.

One of the major changes, which was integral in convincing schools to play football in the fall, is the testing protocols during the week leading up to the game

The NCAA released comprehensive COVID-19 testing guidelines in July. NCAA president Mark Emmert said it was integral in ensuring college football is played safely during the fall.

“This document lays out the advice of health care professionals as to how to resume college sports if we can achieve an environment where COVID-19 rates are manageable,” Emmert said.

According to the NCAA’s guidelines, players will be tested within 72 hours of kickoff. If a player tests positive, he must isolate for a minimum of 10 days and go three days without symptoms.

The Big 12 has enacted more rigorous testing standards that Baylor will be required to follow, which includes three tests per week, one being the day before the game.

Should anyone test positive they will be subjected to an EKG, troponin blood test, echocardiogram and cardiac MRI before they will be cleared to play.

These tests have been put in place to detect myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart that can be developed after being infected with the coronavirus.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he was confident in the Big 12’s testing procedures in an interview with TheStreet’s Jim Cramer.

“We’ve had a Big 12 medical doctors’ advisory panel and also a consultant from Duke University that have been advising us…There hasn’t been anybody that says, ‘This is a bad idea, you shouldn’t go forward with it,'” Bowlsby said. “I feel very good about where we are and I think that our teams do as well.”

Louisiana Tech will have to follow all of the Big 12 testing protocols for the week leading up to the game against Baylor.

Alongside the testing protocols, all Baylor coaches, staff and non-competing athletes will have to wear masks on the sideline in concordance with NCAA and Big 12 guidelines. The team area on each sideline will also be extended an additional 20 yards to promote social distancing.

The referees at Saturday’s game will also be required to wear masks and will use electronic whistles instead of real whistles.

All nine of the FBS football games played last week went on without a hitch, providing hope that a full season can be played without any major disruptions from COVID-19.

Baylor football coach Dave Aranda said that he watched the college football games to see how the new procedures and guidelines affected the teams.

“I was able to watch the game here just recently that was on TV. I feel like you’re watching that thing: ‘Oh, are their masks on? Are they distanced?’” Aranda said. “It was really cool to see just how much fun they were having, the coaches and the players, and it was just great to see football again.”

Baylor will play its season opener against Louisiana Tech at 11 a.m. Saturday in McLane Stadium.