Coronavirus: NCAA creates panel ahead of First Four, other tournament games

The NCAA has created a coronavirus (COVID-19) advisory panel ahead of the upcoming First Four games in Dayton and other upcoming collegiate basketball tournaments.

The panel includes medical professionals and NCAA member schools and was established to help the NCAA guide its response to the outbreak.

The announcement Tuesday comes as Dayton prepares for eight teams and spectators to visit the region and the University of Dayton for the First Four.

“The University is working with...the NCAA for the First Four March 17-18 to ensure a safe, healthy environment for our student-athletes and fans, but also urges them to take precautions they normally would to limit the spread of any illness,” UD officials said.

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County said crowds are where people need to be the most cautious as coronavirus begins to spread across the U.S.

“Anytime you’re gathering in a crowd, that’s where you want to be particularly cautious. Making sure you’re practicing things like washing your hands thoroughly, covering your mouth when you cough and sneeze and stay home when you’re sick,” Public Health spokesman Dan Suffoletto said.

The NCAA has not announced any changes to plans for this year’s men’s or women’s basketball tournaments.

"The NCAA is committed to conducting its championships and events in a safe and responsible manner," said Donald Remy, NCAA chief operating officer. "Today we are planning to conduct our championships as planned, however, we are evaluating the COVID-19 situation daily and will make decisions accordingly.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low for the general public right now. However, the potential for a future public health threat is very high within the U.S. and globally, the CDC says.

"Given the fluid situation, the advisory panel will meet regularly and provide valuable insight and expertise as the Association navigates this complicated public health challenge," NCAA’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline said.

The following people were named to the panel:

  • Stephanie Chu, M.D. Team physician, University of Colorado, Boulder; Member, NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports
  • Carlos del Rio, M.D. Chair, Hubert Department of Global Health at Emory University's Rollins School of Public Health
  • Colleen Kraft, M.D. Associate chief medical officer, Emory University Hospital
  • Vivek Murthy, M.D. 19th Surgeon General of the United States; Member, NCAA Board of Governors
  • Mike Rodriguez Senior director, U.S. Tennis Association and U.S. Open Security
  • William Schaffner, M.D. Professor, Preventive Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center

The panel also includes the following college athlete liaisons:

  • Nicholas Clark Coastal Carolina college athlete and Board of Governors Student-Athlete Engagement Committee chair
  • Caroline Lee Southeastern Louisiana college athlete; NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member and Division I SAAC representative to the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport
  • Mary Northcutt Carson-Newman college athlete; NCAA Division II Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member and Division II SAAC representative to the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport
  • Isaiah Swann University of Texas at Dallas college athlete; NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Advisory Committee member and Division III SAAC representative to the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport

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