The NCAA's newly-formed advisory panel in response to the coronavirus outbreaks across the world announced Friday that it is not recommending cancellation or public spacing of athletic and related events in the U.S.
The panel, which consists of experts in the public health, epidemiology and medical fields, believes at this time the understanding of COVID-19 -- the current strain of coronavirus sweeping the country -- remains fluid. However, consultation with the CDC and health authorities have given them confidence in keeping regularly-scheduled competition.
"The panel members believe that we need to better understand COVID-19 while continuing to work with local, state and federal health authorities such as the CDC," it said in a statement. "The key is for all stakeholders and athletes to practice risk mitigation at all events. At present the panel is not recommending cancellation or public spacing of athletic and related events scheduled to occur in public spaces across the United States."
The NCAA says it is in contact with the CDC, which says that the potential public health threat of the coronavirus both within the U.S. and globally is high. As of now the CDC says the immediate health risk from the virus is considered low for the general public.
"We are actively monitoring COVID-19 in the United States and will make recommendations on competition based on the evolving medical protocols established by the CDC, NIH and state and local authorities," said NCAA Chief Medical Officer Dr. Brian Hainline.
Thus far there have been nine deaths in the U.S. related to the coronavirus. The virus's epicenter of the outbreak was Wuhan, China, where nearly 3,000 people have perished because of the disease.
The National College Players Association (NCPA) urged the NCAA last week to seriously consider holding upcoming competitions without an audience present in order to lessen the risk of coronavirus spread and exposure.