COVID-19: Not a Waiver, Cal Athletes Are Asked to Agree to a Set of Behaviors

Photo courtesy of Cal Athleteics

Jeff Faraudo

While some other schools have required athletes to sign a waiver or pledge before resuming voluntary workouts on campus, those at Cal were sent a set of guidelines titled "COVID Prevention Steps."

The word "waiver" never appears in the document. Cal is calling it an "educational form."

"We are asking our student-athletes to acknowledge that they understand the protocols for themselves and their teammates’ health and well-being during both team and non-team activities," a Cal athletic department spokesperson said. "The intent is to establish a set of behavioral norms."

The one-page sheet begins with this overview:

"Being a part of the Cal Athletics community means that each of us must take critical steps to stay protected and persistently safeguard each other on campus and in the community. Below are the steps that each of us are expected to take consistently during this time to be a part of the solution in containing COVID-19."

The athletic department requires athletes to complete a Student Athlete daly COVID-19 Screening Form each day before returning to campus or any Cal athletic facility for any practice, meeting or game.

Athletes agree to abide by all state, local and university guidelines, including wearing a face covering, and to seek medical attention in the event of experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19. If they test positive for the virus, they must inform their team athletic trainer or team doctor.

Athletes are asked to confirm they have reviewed the information and "UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR BEHAVIOR IS CRITICAL TO STOPPING THE SPREAD OF COVID-19. I understand that I may be unable to participate in team activities if I do not follow these prevention steps."

By comparison,  Ohio State is having athletes sign a "Buckeye Pledge," which the Columbus Dispatch describes as "a two-page document (that) includes language that is used in liability waivers, potentially drawn on in an instance of litigation."

The university said the form should not be viewed as a legal document, but legal experts told the newspaper the school still could attempt to use the pledge as liability protection if an athlete were to become infected.

At SMU, athletes are requiring athletes to sign a form titled, "Acknowledgement of Risk for COVID-19," and Baylor's athletes are given a waiver and awareness form to sign.

Here is Cal's agreement:

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Covid prevention steps

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Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo

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