Athletics & Recreation

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 to 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 is incorporating 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, and NSCA National Consensus Guidelines. 

The Model for Student-Athlete Re-Entry protocol gradually reintroduces student-athletes back to campus for NCAA voluntary, summer training with the primary focus on fall sport student-athletes. 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, spread, and procedures to limit the inherent risk of the disease as well as best practices. The student-athletes will undergo a pre-participation physical examination, COVID-19 screening, and medical/mental wellness clearance measures. Following clearance, this phase will work 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 advance through the physical preparation steps, they will advance to sport specific drills as protocols permit. 

The Return to Sport training protocol focuses on a developmental and phased athletic progression. In order to transition to this phase, the student-athletes must complete the previous protocol including education, medical clearance, performance assessment and preparation training. In this phase, student-athletes will transition to specific athletic activity which may include sharing of equipment and practicing in close proximity/physical contact once university protocols and public health orders allow for such activity. The physical training development plans will follow 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 will be 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. This protocol is currently under review with University leadership and will be implemented upon approval and alignment with current health orders from the state of Colorado. 

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 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 consideration are currently under review. The NCAA and conferences continue to provide resources and direction as we move toward competitive seasons. 

The University of Denver continues 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. 

Campus 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, institutional leadership, and 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; return to participation levels according to health and safety guidance; and game/competition/travel protocols using evidence informed planning efforts to prevent, manage, and mitigate community spread infections in the 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 gradually opens each venue within the Daniel L. Ritchie Center for Sports and Wellness for use. This primary protocol emphasizes facility, program, staff, communication, and education surrounding COVID-19. 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: 

  • El Pomar Natatorium 
  • Joy Burns Arena 
  • Field Complex 
  • Pat Bowlen Training Center 
  • Coors Fitness Center (Anticipated August 2020) 
  • Gymnastics (Anticipated August 2020) 

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 is currently under review with University leadership and will be implemented upon approval and alignment with current health orders from the state of Colorado. 

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 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 consideration are currently under review. 

At present, the University is not planning to host intramural and club sports this Fall. We will continue to evaluate all guidance and will resume these activities once we can confidently maintain the safety of our campus community.