NCAA president Mark Emmert says no risk difference between men’s, women’s COVID-19 tests
Still in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, Connecticut women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma told reporters that his team gets a different COVID-19 test than the men’s team.
He said that his team receives daily antigen tests while the men’s team gets a daily PCR test creating an outcry on social media as to why the men’s and women’s teams are not given the same tests.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, antigen tests — the type administered to women’s teams — have a quick turnaround time for results but, “have a higher chance of missing an active infection.”
A PCR test — the type administered to men’s teams — is considered the “gold standard” by Memorial Healthcare, a hospital in Michigan, as it, “actually detects RNA (or genetic material) that is specific to the virus and can detect the virus within days of infection, even those who have no symptoms.” They have a longer turnaround time for results but they can be delivered in 24 hours.
Auriemma added that he did not know why there were different tests given to each team.
NCAA President Mark Emmert told three news outlets, including USA TODAY Sports, there are no different risks from either test.
“I’m not a medical expert so not going to get into a debate about PCR and antigen. All the health experts said the protocol that we’re using in all of our venues and all of our championships has no different at all in terms of our ability to mitigate risk,” Emmert said.
People shared their disappointment on social media about the treatment of the women’s players, especially on the heels of the backlash the NCAA has received regarding the difference in amenities for the men’s and women’s tournaments.
The issues being exposed on social media this week shed further light on the fight for equality for women’s sports. While NCAA vice president of women’s basketball Lynn Holzman acknowledged the strides that have been made — including a deal with ESPN/ABC to give all the women’s tournament games a national platform this year — she said she’s aware of bigger issues.
Contributing: The Indianapolis Star
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