Athletics & Recreation

The University of Denver Division of Athletics and Recreation is committed to providing an environment that promotes health, safety and wellness for the University and Denver community. The path, as we return to providing campus recreation opportunities, is paved by guidance from University and industry experts with procedures that align with federal, state, local and institutional leadership, along with our national governing body, NIRSA. The Division of Athletics and Recreation is incorporating a three-phase approach to the re-opening of the Daniel L. Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness, which focuses on opening each venue within the facility for designated use, returning to participation levels according to health and safety guidance, and implementing game/competition/travel protocols using evidence-informed planning efforts to prevent, manage, and mitigate community-spread infections in student, staff and community populations. The protocols were developed collaboratively with the University of Denver, along with resources including Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, National Intramural Recreational Sports Association, American College of Sports Medicine, American College Health Association, America Red Cross, American Camp Association, Multiple National Sport Governing Bodies (USA Swimming, USA Hockey, Climbing Wall Association, etc.), Coalition for the Registration of Exercise Professional and International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association.

The Venue Reopen protocol has opened each venue within the Daniel L. Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness for use according to the State of Colorado and City of Denver public health orders Participants in this phase agree to an assumption of risk, make a dedicated use reservation, undergo COVID-19 symptom screening for each visit and receive education on best health and safety practices within each venue. The following venues are open:

  • Coors Fitness Center
  • El Pomar Natatorium
  • Gates Field House
  • Gymnastics Practice Facility
  • Joy Burns Arena
  • Field Complex
  • Stapleton Tennis and Basketball Facility

The Return to Participation protocol focuses on a developmental and phased progression. In order to transition to this phase, the participants must have completed the previous protocol including education, assumption of risk, venue reservation and symptom screening for each venue. In this phase, participants will transition to specific programs, camps and practices which may include sharing of equipment and practicing in close proximity/physical contact once university protocols and public health orders allow for such activity.

This protocol has been implemented with approval and in alignment with current health orders from the state of Colorado and the City of Denver. Participation opportunities that are available include:

  • Strength training
  • Cardiovascular training
  • Fitness classes – core and cardio
  • Climbing
  • Certification classes – CPR/first aid/AED and wilderness CPR/first aid/AED
  • Gymnastics practice and classes
  • Hockey and figure skating practice and classes
  • Field sport activities including soccer, rugby, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee, baseball
  • Tennis
  • Basketball
  • Swimming

The third phase focuses on Return to Competition as it relates to home/away games and necessary program travel (club sports, youth competitive programs). These protocols will specifically address issues surrounding game scenarios such as the participant experience, spectators, officials and staff in order to provide a safe environment for competitive athletic activity as permitted by DU institutional leadership and the state of Colorado. As competition and travel protocols have a number of different considerations from campus training, COVID-19 surveillance testing models, protocols surrounding positive tests and other considerations are specific for competing athletes. 

NCAA Athletics

The University of Denver Division of Athletics and Recreation is committed to providing an environment for re-socialization into NCAA sports with the primary focus on health, safety and wellness for the DU student-athletes, staff and members of the University and Denver community. The path, as we return to re-socialization into sport, is paved by guidance from medical experts with procedures that align with federal, state, local, institutional leadership, NCAA and Conference (Summit League, Big East, Big XII, National Collegiate Hockey Conference, and Rocky Mountain Intercollegiate Ski Association) rules. The Division of Athletics and Recreation has incorporated a three-phase approach which focuses on student-athlete re-entry, return to sport and game/competition/travel protocols using evidence-informed planning in efforts to prevent, manage, and mitigate community spread infections in the student-athlete, staff, and community populations. The protocols were developed collaboratively with the University of Denver Pioneer Health and Performance team, consultants from National Jewish Health, UC Health/Sports Medicine and Centura Health along with resources including CDPHE, CDC, WHO, USOPC, NATA, NCAA Sport Science Institute, NSCA National Consensus Guidelines.

The Model for Student-Athlete Re-Entry protocol has reintroduced our student-athletes back to campus for NCAA voluntary, summer and fall sport training in limited cohorts. This primary protocol emphasizes student-athlete education surrounding COVID-19 using multiple modes of communication (virtual meetings, email, signage) on the DU Covid Protocol for Social Distancing and PPE, Athletics protocol, how COVID-19 can be contracted and spread, and procedures to limit the inherent risk of the disease, as well as best practices. The student-athletes underwent a pre-participation physical examination, COVID-19 screening and medical/mental wellness clearance measures. Following their clearance, the student-athletes worked primarily with the Sports Performance coaches for assessment and physical preparation training to reverse any potential deconditioning effects due to COVID-19 training restrictions that have been in place since spring. As student-athletes advanced through the physical preparation steps, they then advanced to sport-specific drills with coaches.

The Return to Sport training protocol focused on a developmental and phased athletic progression. In order to transition to this phase, the student-athletes must have completed the previous protocol including education, medical clearance, performance assessment and preparation training. In this phase, student-athletes have transitioned to specific athletic activity which may include sharing of equipment and practicing in close proximity/physical contact as permitted by the university protocols and public health orders. The physical training development plans have followed the NSCA National Consensus Guidelines and recommendations from the NCAA Sport Science Institute to promote a safe, intentional progression for return to sport. The testing data gathered from the sports performance team during the Model for Student-Athlete Re-Entry was utilized for student-athletes to gauge their appropriate levels of physical stress. Athletic practices and sport performance training sessions are voluntary for student-athletes until their designated start date per the NCAA and respective conferences. 

The third phase focuses on NCAA Competition as it relates to home/away games and necessary athletic travel. These protocols will specifically address issues surrounding game scenarios such as the student-athlete experience, spectators, officials and staff to provide a safe environment for competitive athletic activity as permitted by DU institutional leadership, the state of Colorado and the City of Denver. Competing athletes are tested 3x per week, as are athletic staff and visiting teams. Athletic travel for competition is permitted following strict protocols.

The University of Denver continues to work diligently to develop and evolve comprehensive health and safety plans consistent with NCAA, conference and state and local public health guidance to promote NCAA athletic activity. The Division of Athletics and Recreation adheres to institutional policy development surrounding COVID-19 testing, contact tracing, treatment for new infections, isolation and quarantine for new infections or high-risk exposure, and strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.  With the knowledge that this is a fluid situation, protocols are subject to evaluation and adjustment pending current University guidance, public healthcare guidelines and emerging SARS-CoV-2 virus science.