NCAA have laid out its guidelines for sports to follow for autumn play ©NCAA

The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Board of Governors has asked its sports and divisions to safeguard student-athlete well-being through its scholarships and eligibility criteria before August 21.

It has directed schools and conferences to meet specific requirements if they are to compete in NCAA sport through the rest of 2020 during the pre-season, regular season and post-season.

NCAA has also said that it will only go forward with sport in the autumn with strict guidelines in place thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Requirements from the NCAA include all autumn sports activity following the recently released return-to-sport guidelines from the NCAA Sport Science Institute for all activity.

The NCAA will also establish a phone number and email to allow college athletes, parents or other personnel to report alleged failures, while schools must still abide by federal, state and local COVID-19 guidelines.

All student-athletes must be allowed to opt out of competition due to concerns over contracting COVID-19, while each division must determine its eligibility accommodations for athletes by August 14, giving them and their families an understanding of their eligibility ahead of the new season.

Member schools may not require student-athletes to waive their legal rights regarding COVID-19 to participate and they must cover COVID-19 related medical expenses for student-athletes.

Any NCAA autumn championship will also include regular testing and social distancing and mask policies.

Social distancing will be conducted in NCAA events until at least the end of the year ©Getty Images
Social distancing will be conducted in NCAA events until at least the end of the year ©Getty Images

"The first and most important consideration is whether sports can be conducted safely for college athletes," said Michael V Drake, chair of the NCAA Board and University of California system President.

"Each division must examine whether it has the resources available to take the required precautions given the spread of COVID-19."

The Board made its requirements on guidance from the NCAA's COVID-19 Advisory Panel, established in March and is comprised of leading medical, public health and epidemiology experts.

"Our decisions place emphasis where it belongs - on the health and safety of college athletes," added NCAA President Mark Emmert.

"Student-athletes should never feel pressured into playing their sport if they do not believe it is safe to do so.

"These policies ensure they can make thoughtful, informed decisions about playing this fall.

"First and foremost, we need to make sure we provide a safe environment for college athletes to compete for an opportunity to play in NCAA Championships.

"A decision based on the realities in each division will provide clarity for conferences and campuses as they determine how to safely begin the academic year and the return to sports."