ACC continues to formulate COVID-19 policies ahead of 2021 season

ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips speaks at the opening day of ACC Kickoff.
ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips speaks at the opening day of ACC Kickoff.(Ryan Kelly | WCTV)
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:41 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The start of the college football season is a little more than a month away, and conferences across the nation are still trying to figure out their plans regarding the ongoing presence of COVID-19.

When the ACC met for its annual Football Kickoff Media Event this week, many of the questions were about medical policies and vaccinations.

Many of the solutions come from lessons learned in 2020.

Playing football in a pandemic proved to be just as tough as it sounded last season.

Virginia Tech had numerous players miss time, especially in the beginning of the season.

“I think we were just holding on last year,” says Hokies’ head coach Justin Fuente. “Our mission was to find a way to play.”

ACC commissioner Jim Phillips says the league is encouraging its programs to get vaccinated.

“There’s no question that there’ll be a higher probability to play, for student athletes, if they’re vaccinated,” says Phillips. “You can just sense it, and see it, and feel it, and our policies are going in that direction.”

Phillips says the conference has not finalized its policies and regulations for the upcoming season, as they’re working with legislation across ten different states.

“We have seven institutions where it’s mandated, to be a student on campus, you have to get vaccinated,” says Phillips, “and it’s not just split, according to what you may believe, between publics and privates.”

Both Virginia and Virginia Tech are mandating the entire student body to be vaccinated before returning to school in the fall, with ‘medical’ and ‘religious’ the only exemptions.

UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall says, “We don’t make those decisions, the university does. Every player on my team, that’s 100-percent, has either been vaccinated, or granted the exemption.”

Many football games were rescheduled last year, when COVID cases proved problematic.

This season if a team doesn’t have enough players to play, many conferences are leaning towards declaring the contest a ‘forfeit.’

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