Athletics

Yellowjacket Athletics Return to Sport Protocols and Procedures 

The University of Wisconsin-Superior and Yellowjacket Athletics continue to work to prepare for the return of student-athletes and athletic activity this fall semester. The university’s return to sport plan serves as an initial framework that encompasses strategies to minimize risk of infection and protocols that help protect the health, safety and well-being of student-athletes, coaches, staff and athletics student workers. 

Future additions to this plan will be developed as part of continued planning with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and the university’s governing sport conferences. The Athletics Department will closely monitor activities alongside the campus leaders at the university’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety to best provide a safe and healthy environment for student-athletes. If you have any questions, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions section, or contact us and someone from the Fall Planning 2020 Team will be in touch with you.

Guiding Principles

As the university developed its plan, the following were guiding principles in our planning efforts and decision-making:

  1. Support the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff, athletic student workers, campus community, visiting student-athletes and teams, and broader community;
  2. Support the essential elements of the student-athlete experiencing, including practice and competition;
  3. Compliance to national, state and local public health directives.

Phasing Protocol

The university has established a phasing protocol based on the guidelines of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and within the application of state and local public health directives that allows for a gradual and safe return to sport for student-athletes.

All student-athletes will be required to follow the established phasing protocol regardless of sport, competitive season and official arrival date to campus. There will be no exceptions granted. The protocol includes five phases totaling 42 days, starting at pre-arrival to campus and proceeding to the clearance for competition.

Phase 1 – Pre-Arrival and Self-Monitoring

Prior to arriving to campus, student-athletes are encouraged to self-monitor and self-isolate for 14 days. Student-athletes are encouraged to limit exposure to large groups and reduce travel outside of their local community. Failing to comply with phase one will require a student-athlete to complete this phase once they arrive to campus.

Phase 2 – Individual Workouts, Training and Daily Screenings

After arriving to campus, student-athletes will have access to athletic facilities for individual workouts and training sessions, as permissible under NCAA legislation, for 7 days. Workouts and training sessions will include limited contact and drills that can incorporate social distancing.

Student-athletes will be required to complete a daily health screening with designated staff for the continuation of this phase. 

Phase 3 – Small Group Workouts, Practices and Daily Screenings

Upon successful completion of Phase 2, with no evidence of a rebound and all criteria met, student-athletes will be permitted to workout, train, and practice, as permissible under NCAA legislation, in a small group setting of no more than 10 student-athletes for 7 days. Practices will include limited contact and drills that can incorporate social distancing.

Student-athletes will be required to complete a daily health screening with designated staff for the continuation of this phase.

For the sports of Men’s and Women’s Golf, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, and Men’s and Women’s Tennis, of which are deemed low-contact based sports, student-athletes who successfully complete phase 3, with no evidence or a rebound and all criteria met, may proceed to phase 5 for competition. Daily health screenings will still be required and programs will still ensure social distancing are incorporated into practice, training, and competition.

Phase 4 – Team Workouts and Practices and Daily Screening

Upon successful completion of Phase 3, with no evidence of a rebound and all criteria met, student-athletes will be permitted to workout, train and practice, as permissible under NCAA legislation, in a large group setting of no more than 50 student-athletes for 14 days. Practices will start to include contact-based drills and intra-squad scrimmages while still trying to incorporate social distancing as best possible.

Student-athletes will be required to complete a daily health screening with designated staff for the continuation of this phase.

Phase 5 – Competition and Daily Screening

Upon successful completion of Phase 4, with no evidence of a rebound and all criteria met, student-athletes will be permitted to compete against outside competition while continuing to practice in a large group setting of no more than 50 student-athletes. This phase will be indefinite or until the conclusion of the NCAA declared playing season for each sport.

Student-athletes will be required to complete a daily health screening with designated staff for the continuation of this phase.

Daily Health Screening

Student-athletes, coaches and staff will be required to complete a daily health screening with a member of the sports medicine or athletics administration staff. Screenings will be no-touch and maintain appropriate social distancing. Head coaches will not be allowed to conduct screenings of their student-athletes.

The screening will include, but not limited to:

  1. Assessment of symptoms
  2. Temperature check
  3. Compliance to social distancing behaviors

The assessment of symptoms will include, but not limited to:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Individuals registering a temperature of 100.4 F or greater will be sent home and are not permitted access to athletic facilities for the day. This is a common threshold established by the CDC and the university’s governing sport conference. Additional screenings and follow-up will be provided, including the potential need to follow the university’s protocol for self-isolation and self-quarantine.

Screenings may occur in conjunction with scheduled practices or workouts, or as otherwise scheduled for each team. Failure to complete a daily health screening would negate the completion of a day in the phasing protocol and delay a student-athlete’s progression to the next phase. Consecutive or routine absences or non-compliance may result in the dismissal of a student-athlete from an athletic program(s).

Compliance and Education

All student-athletes, coaches, staff and student workers will be required to engage in COVID-19 response education prior to practice and competition or involvement with the athletics department. Collectively, all members of Yellowjacket Athletics are responsible for following and upholding the university’s standards and protocols for proper hygiene, including washing hands, wearing masks and PPE, and minimizing risk of infection.

Student-athletes will also be required to complete a COVID-19 Acknowledgement form and COVID-19 Health History form prior to participation.

Masks and Personal Protective Equipment

As part of the university’s safety procedures, all student-athletes, coaches, staff and student workers will be required to wear masks in accordance to the State of Wisconsin and Douglas County Public Health directives. Masks are provided to students by the university and student-athletes will be provided with an additional mask and neck gaiter by the Athletics Department. 

Personal protective equipment will be utilized by coaches, staff and athletics student-workers as necessary. The Athletics Department will work alongside the Office of Environmental Health and Safety to determine necessary PPE requirements.

Practice, Competition and Team Activities

Practice

The status of a program’s phasing protocol status will ultimately dictate how practices can be conducted. In phases two and three, coaches will work with student-athletes individually or in small groups, as permissible under NCAA legislation. Limited contact will be permitted and drills that allow for more social distancing will be incorporated. As programs transition to phases four and five, practices will begin to incorporate the entire team and drills that may have more natural contact and intra-squad scrimmages.

Facilities will open for practice at a designated time for student-athletes, coaches, and staff. When arriving to practice all individuals will complete their daily health screening in a designated space so they can be cleared to enter the facility for practice. Facilities will close for approximately 30-60 minutes following the conclusion of practice to be cleaned before the start of the next activity.

Competition

The university is working closely with our governing sport conferences, the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in determining procedures and protocols for competition that are applicable to each sport.

Cleaning and Sanitization Stations and Supplies

Throughout university facilities, sanitization stations have been installed to help best promote a safe environment for all campus community members. During athletic practices and competitions, a cleaning kit will be accessible to student-athletes, coaches, staff, and student-workers, that includes necessary cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer.

Team Meetings, Study Tables and Activities

Programs will still be able to conduct team meetings, study tables and other team related activities, as permissible under NCAA legislation. Meetings and study tables will be primarily conducted virtually or in designated university spaces that adequately allow for proper social distancing.

Facility Cleaning Procedures

The university is working closely with the Office of Environmental Health and Safety and Facilities Management to establish the necessary cleaning and sanitization procedures for all of campus, including athletic facilities. Facilities will be cleaned prior to and after each use, in addition to going through a deep sanitization at night while buildings are closed.

The cleaning procedures may likely require spaces to temporarily close for 30 to 60 minutes prior to opening again for the next activity.

Facility Occupancy Limits and Air Quality

In addition to establishing necessary cleaning procedures, the Office of Environmental Health and Safety and Facilities Management are working to evaluate occupancy limits and air quality, including ventilation and air flow, in all university facilities, including athletic facilities. Occupancy rates will be adjusted in athletic spaces to best accommodate for social distancing and adjustments to air handlers and/or installation of additional equipment will ensure proper air quality and ventilation of spaces.

Equipment

Equipment utilized in practices, training and competition will be cleaned and sanitized prior to and after use. Programs will try to greatly minimize any shared equipment and if equipment is utilized frequently, clean during practices and between drills.

Equipment will be locked in team storage areas and only accessible during team practices and trainings to help ensure equipment remains clean and safe. Student-athletes desiring to train outside of practices may want to consider bringing their own equipment. 

Athletics Scheduling Priority of Facility Access

To help accommodate and prioritize the demands of all programs, the university and Athletics Department will have to prioritize support and facility access based on the following:

  1. Competition
  2. Practice for programs in their declared NCAA playing season
  3. Practice for programs in their non-traditional NCAA playing season
  4. Team meetings and activities for programs in their declared NCAA playing season
  5. Voluntary activities
    1. Team workouts and strength training
    2. Community service initiatives
    3. Study tables
    4. Leadership programming

Laundry Services

Laundry services will still be provided to student-athletes in the Marcovich Wellness Center. More information will be shared with student-athletes during NCAA eligibility meetings on how to utilize services.

Water Bottles and Drinking Fountains

The Athletics Department will be supplying each student-athlete with their own water bottle to utilize during practice, training and competition. Public drinking fountains will not be accessible; however water bottle filling stations will be available.

Strength Training and Weight Room Access

Team Workouts

Team workouts with the strength training staff will be primarily conducted in small groups and limited to 10 individuals in the Marcovich Wellness Center (MWC) general weight room and athletic weight room. Large group workouts, of no more than 50 individuals, may be schedule in the MWC fieldhouse, but will be primarily limited to conditioning and cardio exercises.

Access to the athletic weight room will be given to programs in their declared playing season and those nearing conference and NCAA championships.

Individual Workouts and Weight Room Access

Students will be able to workout individually in the Marcovich Wellness Center (MWC) by scheduling a designated time with Campus Recreation. The MWC general weight room, cardio room, and training rooms will have limited capacity with scheduled cleaning periods throughout the day. Walk-in access will not be allowed; access will be via appointment only and is scheduled to begin Wednesday, August 19th.  

The athletic weight room in the MWC will be for team use only and limited to 10 individuals at one time. No walk-in or open times will be available. Wessman Arena, including the weight room, will be closed at the beginning of fall semester.

Athletic Training Room

The health and safety of our student-athletes will continue to be the primary focus of our sports medicine team. The athletic training room will be available to student-athletes through appointments only, or in the case of an emergency, to allow for proper social distancing and safety precautions. No drop-in services will be provided. Student-athletes will be able to make appointments with the athletic training staff through the athletics website. Remote athletic training services, such as ankle-taping, will be provided at each practice.

The sports medicine team will monitor appointments and if needed give priority access to student-athletes who are in their declared playing season. Student-athletes who are out-of-season will still be able to access services, though may be asked to visit make appointments that do not conflict with other appointments or practices.

Locker Room and Team Spaces

To begin the 2020-21 academic year, locker rooms and team spaces will be closed and only accessible to student-athletes and teams during competition. Student-athletes will be required to arrive dressed for all other activities (practice, workouts, etc.). Department and team apparel will be issued to student-athletes in advance. Limited changing spaces will be available should a student-athlete be coming from class or work. Space will be available for student-athletes to store and secure personal belongings.

During competition, locker room and team spaces will have a designated opening time for student-athletes. Following the conclusion of competition, all spaces and locker room(s) will be closed to thoroughly be cleaned and sanitized.

Team Travel

Transportation

The Athletics Department is working closely with our transportation partners to develop proper safety procedures. Student-athletes, coaches and staff will be required to complete a daily health screening prior to travel and access on a team bus. Masks will be required during transportation. Travel parties may also need to have further restrictions, including limiting the travel roster, to best accommodate for social distancing on buses.

Lodging

The Athletics Department will be minimizing all overnight trips that require lodging. Should a team need lodging, student-athletes will reside with individuals they most frequently interact with, such as their residence hall roommates or off-campus roommates.

Meals

During team travel, coaches will be working to pre-order all meals to minimize risk of infection. Meals will either be delivered to the team at the site of competition or scheduled for pick-up. Student-athletes with specific dietary restrictions will be able to work with their coaches to make reasonable accommodations.

Cleaning and Sanitization Supplies

While traveling, teams will be equipped with necessary cleaning and sanitization supplies for student-athletes, coaches and staff to utilize.

Visiting Institution Protocols

The university is working closely with our governing sport conferences, the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, in determining consistent protocols for all institutions to follow while traveling. These protocols will include access to locker rooms, athletic training, cleaning and sanitization, and specific arrival and departure procedures.

Game Day

Safety Protocols and Barriers

The Athletics Department is working alongside the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference to determine safety protocols to follow on game days. Safety barriers, floor markings and designated seats may be utilized throughout venues.

Video and Audio Streaming

Yellowjacket Athletics has partnered with iFan Sports Network and KUWS, FM 91.3 Wisconsin Public Radio, to grow the video and audio streaming for the majority of home athletic contests for the 2020-21 academic year. Further information will be available on the athletics website.

Spectator Access

The university will be working closely with local public health authorities in determining if, or when, spectators will be allowed for home athletic contests. Should limited spectators be allowed, facility occupancy standards will still apply. Priority access will be given to the parents, guardians and family members of participating student-athletes; further limitations may apply. Ticket rates would still apply.

Resources

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions Expand All

Phasing Protocol

Why do student-athletes need to follow a phasing protocol?

The university has established its phasing protocol based on the guidelines of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and within the application of state and local public health directives. The phasing protocol allows for a gradual and safe return to sport to best protect the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, staff and the broader campus community.

How was the phasing protocol developed?

The university’s phasing protocols takes into consideration information and guidance from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Upper Midwest Athletic Conference (UMAC), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), State of Wisconsin and local public health directives.

Could the phasing protocol be changed or adjusted as we near fall semester?

The university will continue to work with the NCAA, UMAC and state and local public health authorities to continual assess and amend the phasing protocol, as necessary. Any changes to the phasing protocol will be communicated directly to student-athletes and updated in our materials.  

Are all sports and student-athletes required to complete the phasing protocol?

Yes, all student-athletes and athletic programs will follow the university’s established phasing protocols.

Is the phasing protocol monitored as a team or by each individual student-athlete?

The phasing protocol will be administered as a team but student-athletes will progress individual through each phase. Should a student-athlete not progress to the next phase or need to be delayed in his/her progression, the student-athlete may fall behind the progression of the team and other student-athletes.

How will the phasing protocol impact each sport?

The application of the phasing protocol will be different for each athletic program based on the declared playing season set forth by the NCAA and the university’s governing sport conferences.

  • Men’s and Women’s Cross Country and Men’s and Women’s Golf will begin their phasing protocol on Friday, August 7 (phase one, at home) with an early arrival to campus on Friday, August 21 for competition to begin in early September. 
  • Baseball, Softball and Men’s and Women’s Tennis will begin their phasing protocol to allow for the start of fall practices, which may begin as early as Monday, September 7. Student-athletes should connect with their respective Coaches for fall schedule. 
  • Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey, and Men’s and Women’s Track and Field will need to coordinate their phasing protocol according to their planned arrival to campus (14 days prior to). These programs will begin phase two collectively on Wednesday, September 2.

How will this affect multi-sport student-athletes?

Student-athletes competing in multiple sports will only be required to complete the phasing protocol once. However, a student-athlete’s phasing protocol status may not be reflective of the team’s status. For the purposes of practice, training and competition, the team’s status will be the deciding factor.

Who will be monitoring the phasing protocol?

The Sports Medicine and Athletic Administration staff will administer the phasing protocol and will have final authority in the progression of student-athlete’s status.

What happens if a student-athlete experiences COVID-19 related symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19 during the phasing protocol?

If a student-athlete experiences COVID-19 related symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19 while still progressing through phases 2-4, the student-athlete will be temporarily held back from progressing.

The student-athlete may need to complete an additional return to sport protocol established by the Sports Medicine team in order to get clearance to resume the phasing protocol. This protocol may take 7-21 days depending on the severity of symptoms, and health and safety of the student-athlete.

Health and Safety Protocols

Are student-athletes required to be tested for COVID-19?

No, student-athletes are not required to be tested for COVID-19. However, student-athletes must complete the university’s COVID-19 Acknowledgement Form during their NCAA eligibility meeting prior to any participation in practice, training, or competition. Student-athletes will also be required to complete a COVID-19 Health History Form during their first designated health screening.

Will student-athletes be tested for COVID-19?

The university will continue to follow all state and local public health directives as it relates to COVID-19 testing. Currently, the university does not intend to do mass and/or routine testing of student-athletes for COVID-19. The athletic department will follow the university’s protocols should a student-athlete experience COVID-19 related symptoms and/or test positive for COVID-19.

What happens if a student-athlete experiences COVID-19 related symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19? 

If a student-athlete experiences COVID-19 related symptoms and/or tests positive for COVID-19, the Athletics Department will follow the university’s established protocols for self-isolation and self-quarantine.

Once the university’s protocol has been fulfilled, the student-athlete will then proceed to complete a return to sport protocol established by the Sports Medicine team in order to get clearance to return to practice, training and competition. This protocol may take 7-21 days depending on the severity of symptoms, and health and safety of the student-athlete.

How will the daily health screenings be conducted?

Student-athletes will complete a daily health screening with a member of the Sports Medicine or Athletics Administration staff. Screenings will most likely occur in conjunction with scheduled practices or workouts, or as otherwise scheduled for each team.

Will student-athletes have to be physically present for each health screening?

Yes, student-athletes will have to be physically present for their health screening appointments.

What happens if a student-athlete misses a health screening?

Student-athletes who miss a screening will be delayed in their phasing protocol progression until all requirements are sufficiently met. Missing a screening will negate the completion of a day in the phasing protocol. Consecutive or routine absences or non-compliance may result in the dismissal of a student-athlete from an athletic program(s).

Are student-athletes able to travel home during pre-season (fall sports) and/or during the semester?

Yes, student-athletes are permitted to travel home during pre-season (fall sports) and during the semester but are required to report any travel outside of the local community to the Sports Medicine staff. Depending on the circumstances and destination of travel, student-athletes may be delayed in their phasing protocol progression and/or be required to follow additional safety protocols, such as self-isolation or self-quarantine.

For the university’s designated breaks, such as Thanksgiving or winter break, specific guidance will be given to impacted student-athletes on proper protocols for travel, return to campus, and implications towards practice and competition.

Are student-athletes, coaches and staff required to wear a mask?

As part of the university’s safety procedures, all student-athletes, coaches and staff will be required to wear masks. Student-athletes will be permitted to not wear a mask during physical activity, such as working out, practice, or during competition.

Practice, Training and Competition

How will practices be conducted?

The status of a program’s phasing protocol status will ultimately dictate how practices can be conducted. In phases two and three, coaches will work with student-athletes individually or in small groups, as permissible under NCAA legislation. Limited contact will be permitted and drills that allow for more social distancing will be incorporated. As programs transition to phases four and five, practices will begin to incorporate the entire team and drills that may have more natural contact and intra-squad scrimmages.

How will facilities be cleaned?

Athletic facilities will be cleaned frequently during the day and will go through a deep cleaning and sanitation at night. The university has purchased new equipment and ample supplies to uphold the best cleaning and sanitation practices possible.

How will equipment be cleaned?

Equipment utilized in practices, training and competition will be cleaned and sanitized prior to and after use. Equipment will be locked in team storage areas and only accessible during team practices and trainings to help ensure equipment remains clean and safe.

Will student-athletes be able to access team equipment on their own?

Access to team equipment and team storage areas will be significantly limited, and potentially restricted to team practices and competition only. Student-athletes desiring to train outside of practices may want to consider bringing their own equipment

What will team workouts and lifts look like?

Team workouts with the Strength Training staff will be primarily conducted in small groups and limited to 10 individuals in the Marcovich Wellness Center (MWC) general weight room and athletic weight room. Large group workouts, of no more then 50 individuals, may be schedule in the MWC fieldhouse, but will be primarily limited to conditioning and cardio exercises.

Can student-athletes workout on their own in the Marcovich Wellness Center or Wessman Arena?

Yes, students will be able to workout individually in the Marcovich Wellness Center (MWC) by scheduling a designated time with Campus Recreation. The MWC general weight room, cardio room, and training rooms will have limited capacity with scheduled cleaning periods throughout the day. Walk-in access will not be allowed; access will be via appointment only and is scheduled to begin Wednesday, August 19.  

The athletic weight room in the MWC will be for team use only and limited to 10 individuals at one time. No walk-in or open times will be available. The weight room in Wessman Arena will be closed to start the fall semester.

Are student-athletes required to arrive dressed for practice or training?

Yes, student-athletes should arrive dressed and ready for practice or training. General locker room access will not be provided to start the fall semester. Limited changing spaces will be available should a student-athlete be coming from class or work.

Will locker rooms be open and accessible during game days?

Yes, locker rooms will only be accessible on game days and during competition. Locker rooms will have a designated opening and closing time with restricted access to team personnel. Following its use locker rooms will be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

Will locker rooms be open and accessible for daily use?

No, locker rooms will not be accessible for general or daily use, including for practice or training sessions. Student-athletes should arrive dressed and ready for practice or training. Limited changing spaces will be available should a student-athlete be coming from class or work.

The Athletics Department will closely monitor the opening of locker rooms for daily activities alongside the university and Office of Environmental Health and Safety and only do so once criteria deem it safe and proper cleaning protocols can be followed.

Student-Athlete Services and Support

Will there still be team meetings and study tables?

Yes, programs will be able to still conduct team meetings and study tables, as permissible under NCAA legislation. Meetings will be primarily conducted virtually or in designated university spaces.

When are NCAA eligibility meetings?

NCAA eligibility meetings will be conducted for each athletic program during pre-season (fall sports) and during September (winter and spring sports). Dates for eligibility meetings will be scheduled in July and August. Student-athletes should connect with their head coach regarding their team’s meeting date and time.

Will student-athletes be able to access athletic laundry services?

Yes, laundry services will still be provided to student-athletes in the Marcovich Wellness Center. Information will be shared with student-athletes during NCAA eligibility meetings on how to utilize services.