The Pac-12 announced Thursday that it will institute a "conference-wide daily rapid-results testing regimen" for student-athletes in close-contact sports.
Bryan Fischer of Athlon Sports shared the conference's press release:
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott released the following statement:
"This is a major step toward the safe resumption of Pac-12 sport competitions. The availability of a reliable test that can be administered daily, with almost immediate results, addresses one of the key concerns that was expressed by our medical advisory committee, as well as by student-athletes, coaches and others. At the same time, our partnership with Quidel, the industry leader in point-of-care antigen testing, will provide crucial research data that will benefit our members’ communities as well as the entire country."
The Pac-12 was one of four Division I conferences—including the Big Ten, Mid-American Conference and the Mountain West—to postpone all fall sports, including football, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
One of the Pac-12's concerns, per Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports and The Athletic, was testing:
Bruce Feldman @BruceFeldmanCFB
Pac-12 announces "groundbreaking testing research initiative; Rapid-results test could speed the return of sport competitions"... 1) Testing efficiency was a big factor in the P12's decision last month. 2) several teams still can't practice yet (due to local ordinances in place)
The news of the rapid-results testing program comes after Penn State's director of athletic medicine, Wayne Sebastianelli, offered sobering information to the State College Area school board of directors Monday on Big Ten athletes who tested positive for COVID-19 also developing myocarditis, a potentially fatal inflammation of the heart muscle (via Parth Upadhyaya of the Centre Daily Times):
"When we looked at our COVID-positive athletes, whether they were symptomatic or not, 30 to roughly 35 percent of their heart muscles (are) inflamed. And we really just don't know what to do with it right now. It's still very early in the infection. Some of that has led to the Pac-12 and the Big Ten's decision to sort of put a hiatus on what's happening."
Penn State later clarified those remarks:
Kyle Bonagura @BonaguraESPN
Regarding the claim that 30-35% of Big Ten athletes have been discovered to have heart conditions linked to Covid-19: It was incorrect. Here is some clarification from Penn State. "Dr. Sebastianelli wishes to clarify this point, and apologize for any confusion." https://t.co/ATUc2FxDrU
Sebastianelli added that the Big Ten athletes with the coronavirus who have been studied have shown a "level of inflammation in cardiac muscle that just is alarming."