A week ago, the NCAA published a list of guidelines that communicates their COVID-19 guidelines for winter athletes in the upcoming season. Within those guidelines, the NCAA admitted something that most Americans already understood: natural immunity is an effective way for someone to be protected against COVID-19.
The NCAA included a list of factors it considered would classify someone as “fully vaccinated,” which included if people had taken one of the COVID vaccines or if they had gotten booster shots within a specific time period. But within that list, the NCAA said that according to its definition:
“A person who has had a documented COVID-19 infection in the past 90 days is considered the equivalent of ‘fully vaccinated.’"
Finally, people are starting to get the idea that you do not need to take a vaccine to be well-protected against the coronavirus, and that those who do not take the vaccine do not need to be ostracized or punished to do so.
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In addition to admitting that natural immunity is just as effective in helping someone combat COVID-19, the NCAA is relaxing its rules on how long someone would have to quarantine after contracting the virus, only making mask-wearing a “consideration” and not a mandate, and overall taking a lot of positive steps towards completely renewing a sense of normalcy.
This is a huge win for college athletes, who have arguably suffered the most setbacks from having to play the past two years in a COVID-crazed world. Seasons have been canceled, opportunities to boost their draft stock for the pros lost, and lives radically altered in an effort to “keep the kids safe.” The isolation and loneliness these athletes experienced in that time as devastating, but it would seem that the NCAA is realizing that enough is enough and that how they operate needs to change.
While there is still a long way to go in getting the collegiate sports environment back to the way it was before COVID, this is a very encouraging step in the right direction.