AAC lays out COVID-19 test plan ahead of NCAA announcement

The American Athletic Conference will require all its schools to test football players for COVID-19 at least 72 hours before competition

The American Athletic Conference will require all its schools to test players for COVID-19 at least 72 hours before competition.

The announcement Thursday by the American comes ahead of the expected release of recommendations for testing before games from the NCAA.

The Power Five conferences — ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC — have been working toward a minimum standard for testing throughout major college .

The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced last week that they would play only conference games in and other sports this fall to help minimize potential disruptions caused by COVID-19.

The Big East joined those leagues Thursday by going conference-only for the fall season, which for the basketball-focused league includes men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross-country, volleyball and field hockey.

Other FBS conferences have not yet decided on scheduling formats for the coming season, which appears to be in peril because of the surging pandemic.

AAC Commissioner Mike Aresco said the testing protocols will apply throughout the regular and bowl seasons. More operational protocols are still being finalized, as are testing protocols for other sports.

“We are committed to meeting or exceeding all guidelines and standards recommended by the NCAA and its member institutions in all fall sports, including football,” Aresco said.

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