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Big 12 announces adjustments to COVID protocols

The conference has adjusted its isolation, quarantining and testing measures to match the latest CDC recommendations.

IRVING, Texas — Friday, the Big 12 Conference announced it had adjusted its COVID-19 medical protocols.

Effective immediately, team members and staff who test positive for the virus must now isolate for five days, regardless of vaccination status. They may now return to the activity with a negative test between Days 6 and 10.

This move comes after the conference changed its ruling for league basketball games which cannot be played due to COVID or any other reason from a forfeit to a "No Contest," like the 2020-21 athletic year.

Friday's announcement also states people who are up to date on vaccination status, including booster shots if eligible, are exempt from quarantining. People who have had a positive test within the previous 90 days are also exempt.

Anybody who has had close contact must also quarantine for five days and test negative before being allowed to return.

The conference will continue weekly surveillance testing for unvaccinated team personnel, however, they can be exempt with a positive COVID test within the previous 90 days. That timeframe has been cut in half from 180 days.

"I applaud the work and thorough considerations of the Big 12 medical advisors," Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said in a statement. "The spread of the omicron variant requires that we continue to remain vigilant in our approach to combatting the virus, and rely on the advice of our medical experts for guidance."

On Dec. 22nd, the conference adjusted its basketball game cancellation thresholds, stating teams with at least six players and one countable coach can play. Those who don't meet those numbers will result in "No Contest" results. 

TCU's men's basketball team is scheduled to return Saturday from a pause that postponed its first two Big 12 games against Baylor. It's scheduled for a 4 p.m. tip in Fort Worth.

Baylor's women's basketball team is currently on a COVID pause which postponed Wednesday's conference home opener against TCU and Sunday's clash with Texas. Without further postponement, the Bears are scheduled to return Wednesday at Oklahoma.