The Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference announced Tuesday that a mandatory vaccination policy will be in place for student-athletes competing in the conference beginning this fall.
The league maintained that all athletes and staff members are required to be fully vaccinated to participate in SIAC-sponsored events.
“Within the context of rising COVID-19 infection rates, student-athletes are a particularly vulnerable stakeholder group who, as a result of their athletic participation, are required to travel off-campus and compete against and interact with student-athletes on other campuses,” said SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore. “These athletic-related activities not only increase the risk of exposure to our student-athletes but also increase the risk of exposure to their classmates and other campus stakeholders once those athletes return to campus.”
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Moore said the conference policy is a prerequisite to competition and was guided by data that indicated COVID-19 vaccines are effective in combating coronavirus.
A student-athlete may only be exempt from the vaccine requirement if they have received a campus-approved exemption for medical or religious reasons, the conference said. This exemption will not excuse the student-athlete from COVID testing per guidelines established by local and county health officials as well as any additional campus requirements.