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NCAA loosens ballpark restrictions for baseball, softball

NCAAWith COVID-19 restrictions loosening across the country, the NCAA is following suit and passing oversight of capacity limits and mask requirements for baseball and softball championship play to local health officials.

The new policy kicks in today, which means final series of the season on the baseball side could finally feature full houses in many college ballparks.

The move follows a similar decision by Major League Baseball to allow teams to work with local health officials to shape attendance and mask requirements. The end result in many municipalities is totally open ballparks, with recommendations that unvaccinated fans still wear masks in confined spaces.

“The effectiveness and prevalence of vaccinations in our country have allowed the Medical Advisory Group to provide this guidance that has tremendous impact on student-athletes, coaches and fans attending NCAA championships,” Hainline said. “It’s still important for anyone attending championships to remember common sense measures like hand washing, hand sanitization and proper etiquette when coughing or sneezing.”

Players will still need to be competed under controlled circumstances in the NCAA’s tiered system. Nonvaccinated participants will continue to be tested in keeping with the protocols outlined in the Championships Safety Overview. Fully vaccinated athletics personnel and health care providers will be allowed access to Tier 1.

The Division I softball championship’s 64-team field has been selected and seeded, while the brackets and pairings for the 2021 Division I Baseball Championship will be released at noon Eastern time on May 31.