Indiana University moves to Phase II of limited return to athletics


Based on the Indiana University Athletics Medical Advisory Group Phase Two Restart Plan, Indiana University Athletics is continuing the process of returning groups of its students who compete in intercollegiate athletics to campus for voluntary workouts.

To promote the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches and staff participating in team activities (collectively “Participants”), IU Athletics established the IU Athletics Medical Advisory Group on March 10, 2020 to provide expert medical advice to the Department. This group consists of Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Andy Hipskind; IU Team Physician, Dr. Larry Rink; and Dr. Tom Hrismalos, a specialist in infectious disease. Dr. Rink also serves on the Big Ten Task Force for Emerging Infectious Diseases. The IU Athletics Medical Advisory Group continues to work in collaboration with IU Environmental Health and Safety and IU Emergency Management to develop requirements for IU Athletics to implement for the resumption of limited athletic activities in certain facilities for Indiana University students who participate in intercollegiate athletics. IU Athletics recognizes that the protocols we are putting in place transcend the health and safety of the IU Athletics community, as we also seek to promote the health and safety of the general IU student body, the entire IU community, and the city of Bloomington.

“We are receiving guidance and protocols from the best doctors as we continue returning groups of our students to campus,” said IU Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Scott Dolson. “Throughout this process, we have kept, and will continue to keep, the health and safety of our students, coaches and staff as our top priority.”

After announcing the IU Athletics Phase One Restart Plan June 3, the Indiana University Athletics Medical Advisory Group’s Phase Two Restart Plan went into effect June 29. Among the changes from Phase I are an expansion of available facilities (accompanied by cleaning protocols for those facilities); an increase in the number of participants who can participate in a space at one time; the ability of football players to pass the ball to other members in their cohort (while still abiding by physical distancing guidelines); and “Grab and Go” food service availability for students at the Tobias Nutrition Center.

Because of the rapid developments in best practices related to COVID-19, this plan is considered Phase 2 and addresses the protocols that are expected to be in place while teams pursue voluntary athletic activities. The plan will continue to be updated as the Department looks toward team practices and ultimately competitions and as needed based on the guidance of relevant authorities. The plan has been developed to meet, and in some areas exceed, all federal, state, local, Indiana University, Big Ten Conference, and NCAA guidance relating to COVID-19.

The first groups to start voluntary workouts in June were members of the football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams, all of whom went through a series of pre-participation protocols before they were cleared to participate in voluntary workouts. Those groups continue to adhere to a number of protocols now that they have returned, including daily medical checks and agreeing to abide by a series of CDC guidelines regarding social distancing, and, when deemed necessary by IU Athletics’ Chief Medical Officer, COVID-19 testing.

Additional groups are scheduled to return later this month and in August for voluntary workouts and will follow the same pre-participation protocols as the initial groups. These subsequent groups include students who participate in fall sports, and they will return for voluntary workouts on the following timeline:

  • Women’s Soccer – July 6
  • Volleyball – July 8
  • Men’s Soccer – July 13
  • Field Hockey – July 15
  • Cross Country – August 18

In accordance with the NCAA guidelines, all workouts will be strictly voluntary and IU Athletics will emphasize the voluntary nature of the workouts to its students. The voluntary workouts will be conducted in accordance with detailed safety protocols governing the workouts themselves as well as the pre- and post-workout procedures. These safety protocols include elements being used by other Big Ten institutions as well as the NFL, NBA and U.S. Olympic Committee. These protocols include a daily medical check for students; social distancing and facemask guidelines for students and staff; guidance on group size and composition; facility capacity limitations; directives regarding equipment usage and cleaning; and directives on facility cleaning.

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