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Coronavirus Sports: COVID-19 Impacts and Solutions for College Recruiting

 

Managing your college recruiting process during coronavirus

As the entire sports community has been forced to make difficult decisions in response to the coronavirus pandemic, student-athletes and coaches alike have been left wondering exactly what these changes mean for the future of college athletic recruiting.

The NCAA (as well as high school sports and club sports organizations) have made numerous announcements that impact current college athletes and recruits, and NCSA is tracking all of this news closely in the sections below and breaking things down for recruits to help them make informed decisions during this challenging time. 

It’s now more important than ever for student-athletes to maximize their online presence and to be proactive in starting recruiting conversations with coaches. Keep reading to find out the latest information, as well as the steps you can take right now to keep your recruiting journey on track, even without in-person recruiting, college visits, camps and tournaments

If you have any questions about your path to college recruiting, please email updates@ncsasports.org.

 

NCSA resources on coronavirus and recruiting

It’s a confusing and challenging time to be a student-athlete, especially for those who have dreams of competing at the college level. Official recruiting visits, tournaments and college camps remain on a long list of cancellations and postponements.

The good news is, much of the college recruiting process happens digitally. In 2019, college coaches on NCSA’s recruiting network:

  • Viewed 10,250,000+ NCSA recruiting profiles
  • Followed 13,400,000+ NCSA recruiting profiles
  • Searched for recruits with 41,900,000+ NCSA recruiting profiles appearing in searches

Today, an online recruiting presence is more important than ever, as college coaches are stuck recruiting from behind a computer. At NCSA, we’re committed to helping student-athletes leverage their online presence to connect with college coaches and find their best college match with our digital recruiting tools.

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How college coaches are recruiting during COVID-19 

In late July 2020, NCSA asked 380+ college coaches across various sports at the D1, D2, D3, NAIA and junior college levels for insight into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on college recruiting. Coaches weighed in on topics such as program funding, recruiting timelines, eligibility and more.

Our team also compared coach activity on NCSA between March 2020 and July 2020 to the same timeframe in 2019 and found that coaches have been more active recruiting online during the pandemic. View the complete college coach COVID-19 survey results and coach activity report more details.

Learn more about what college coaches are doing right now.

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NCAA suspension of in-person recruiting extended until January 1; Different rules apply to D2

Effective immediately, the NCAA suspension of all in-person recruiting for D1 sports is extended through January 1, 2021. Coaches are not allowed to meet face-to-face with a recruit off campus or do any in-person scouting. They have also encouraged all colleges to stop all official and unofficial visits. Recruiting will not stop completely; coaches and recruits can still communicate over email, phone, text and social media.

What these new NCAA rules mean for recruits:

  • Impact on on-campus contact: If you have arranged to meet with a college coach on- or off-campus, contact them directly to reschedule your visit.  
  • Impact on off-campus contact: While all on-and off-campus recruiting has been suspended, coaches and recruits can still communicate via email, phone, and private messages like DMs as long as they follow NCAA recruiting rules.   
  • Impact on scholarship offers: College coaches may be more likely to make recruits different types of offers that help them retain roster flexibility, such as a grayshirt or redshirt scholarship offer.
  • Since college coaches will be relying on digital communication now more than ever, it’s important to build a competitive profile and continue to manage your recruiting process.

Though this decision currently applies only to the NCAA D1 level, NCAA D2, D3, NAIA and NJCAA level coaches are following suit with their own updates. See below for our list of the latest updates across all division levels:

As always, if you are in contact with coaches at any programs, we recommend checking directly with them to ensure you know the latest updates about their recruiting plans.     

View all updates and FAQs regarding the recent NCAA suspensions

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High school sports news, updates, and coronavirus information

High school athletic associations are postponing and canceling games, tournaments, competitions and seasons as the guidelines for responding to coronavirus change. School districts across the country have begun to take precautionary measures both in and outside of the classroom to protect students and the community. These changes will to some extent impact the high school class of 2020, 2021, and 2022 and 2023. As high school athletic associations continue to monitor the status of the coronavirus and take necessary action, we will update this section with the latest on postponed and cancelled high school sports seasons.

Coronavirus State Map

According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, the following states  have suspended or postponed their originally scheduled fall sports seasons:

  • Arizona (Golf – August 17; Cross Country and Swimming and Diving – August 24; Badminton, Fall Soccer and Volleyball – August 31; and Football – September 7)
  • California (December 2020 or January 2021)
  • District of Columbia (January 4)
  • Florida (August 24)
  • Georgia (September 4)
  • Hawaii (August 19)
  • Kansas (September 8)
  • Kentucky (September 7)
  • Maine (September 8)
  • Massachusetts (September 14)
  • Michigan (Cross Country, Golf, Soccer, Swimming & Diving, Tennis and Volleyball – August 12; Football – Spring 2021)
  • Nevada (Winter sports January 2; Fall sports February 20; Spring sports April 3)
  • New Jersey (September 14)
  • New Mexico (football and soccer moved to the spring)
  • New York (not before September 21)
  • North Carolina (September 1)
  • Ohio (August 21)
  • Texas (August 3 for conferences 1A-4A football and volleyball; conferences 5A-6A start September 7)
  • Washington (September 7)
  • West Virginia (August 17)
  • Wisconsin (Girls golf, girls tennis, girls swimming and diving, and boys and girls cross country August 17; Football, boys soccer, boys and girls volleyball September 7)

See the status of high school sports in all 50 states

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What to do if your fall high school sports season is canceled

For student-athletes looking to get recruited, it is stressful to miss out on a sports season. But, while high school sports play an important role in the college recruiting process, there are ways student-athletes can keep the momentum going and continue building coach relationships even without their high school season. Remember, coaches are now paying attention to how student-athletes are adapting to and overcoming COVID-19 obstacles, too, as they evaluate recruits. 

If your fall high school sports season has been canceled, here are six ways to keep your recruiting process on track:

Manage your online presence: An online recruiting profile allows recruits to showcase their key metrics, highlight video and academic accolades for college coaches to review while in-person, off-campus contact remains suspended through at least January 1. Looking at coach activity on NCSA between March and July 2020, we’ve seen a 20% increase in college coach logins and a 17% increase in recruiting profiles that appear in college coaches’ searches, compared to the same timeframe in 2019. Create a free recruiting profile.

Create a skills video: Just as the recruiting landscape has changed, so have coach expectations for highlight video. Coaches are now open to receiving skills video that can easily be shot in an athlete’s backyard. Learn more about what coaches want to see in a skills video and why they are so important for getting recruited. View our skills video tips.

Manage college coach communication: In a recent survey, we asked college coaches how student-athletes can keep their recruiting process moving forward during the suspension of in-person, off-campus recruiting. Their advice was, the more recruits stay in touch, the better. With most of the recruiting process taking place digitally, it is important to keep an open line of communication with college coaches and continue sending videos, emails and updates.

Stay in contact with coaches of programs that the recruit is interested in and continue to monitor and find new and innovative ways to display their skills (i.e. doing solo exhibitions of skills, utilize return to play opportunities) and email/text/call to stay in touch and show interest in a particular program.

- NCAA D1 Men’s Tennis Coach

Keep in contact with coaches. Including film in their communication is so important considering that coaches may have lost the opportunity to see a recruit play in person. Also, recruits should look into the virtual options that the schools they are interested in are offering to prospective students, including virtual open houses, zoom meetings with staff and faculty, and virtual tours of the campus.

- NCAA D3 Women’s Volleyball Coach

Recruits should communicate directly with coaches and programs in which they have had previous contact to determine next steps.  When reaching out for the first time, recruits should focus on highlight video quality and effectiveness. Provide at least one full game film (against quality opponent) to allow coaches to assess qualities that may not be evident in highlight videos.

- NAIA Women’s Soccer Coach

Coaches also emphasized the importance of being proactive. When a college coach follows your recruiting profile, contact them to introduce yourself, rather than waiting for the coach to contact you.

In addition to our guide to contacting college coaches via digital channels, check out our recent interview with an NCAA D3 coach for the dos and don’ts of contacting coaches during COVID-19.

Stay on top of recruiting education: As we continue to navigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic together, our team is offering free online recruiting classes. These classes cover a wide variety of recruiting topics, including NCAA recruiting updates, sport-specific recruiting advice, Q&A sessions and more. To attend an online recruiting class, check out our upcoming schedule.

Explore your options: College coaches recently shared in a survey that recruits should take this time to do more research on school programs and the coaching staff. When researching a school, coaches emphasized that recruits should ask themselves if they would still want to go to a school even if the school no longer offered their sports program.

Other coaches mentioned considering the Junior College path. Because many recruits are losing a competition season, making it more challenging to be seen by college coaches, JUCO programs would allow recruits to play at the next level with the possibility of transferring after 1-2 years.

When it comes time to make your college decision, coaches warned that recruits need to be prepared to make a decision without getting a chance to visit the school first. View our tips for visiting campuses virtually.

Talk to a recruiting expert: Our team of recruiting experts is constantly tracking the latest coronavirus recruiting news and updates, so that we can help student-athletes and their families make informed decisions. To talk to a recruiting expert, reach out to us at recruiting@ncsasports.org or 866-495-5172.

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How to create a skills video during COVID-19

A professionally edited video is a great way to show coaches what you can do—but putting together a video coaches want to see can seem difficult as you continue to navigate the changing landscape of recruiting during COVID-19.

If your upcoming fall season is postponed or canceled, or you weren’t able to attend any camps or recruiting events this summer, one of the best ways to get on a coach’s radar and showcase your athleticism is with a skills video.

Both skills and highlight videos are designed to help coaches see your athleticism and technical ability. However, unlike a highlight video, which incorporates game and competition footage, skills videos can be shot relatively easily on your own, and they don’t require specific locations (like a baseball field or basketball court) or expensive equipment.

With a recruiting dead-period in place through at least January 1, it’s more difficult than ever for coaches to evaluate student-athletes. Putting together a skills video can provide athletes with a great excuse to reach out to a new school or program they’re interested in or re engage with a coach they haven’t followed up with in a while.

Check out tips from NCSA recruiting experts and recent clips from student-athletes in this video:

What do coaches want to see in your skills video?

NCSA reached out to college coaches, and now more than ever, coaches want to see anything that displays your athleticism and technical abilities, including:

  • Technical elements like running, jumping, change of direction
  • Footage from old games, practices and recruiting events like combines or tournaments
  • Individual drills and small group trainings
  • Consistency and repetition

Not sure where to start? Think about drills or exercises you’ve done during practices or warm-ups, and then execute them over and over. Former UCLA Softball Coach Sue Enquist suggests athletes “heighten [their] mindset” by “visualizing pressure moments” to help make sure their abilities stand out just as they would on a big game day.

Most importantly, coaches want recruits to know that skills videos do not have to be perfect. They don’t need transitions or other effects like many highlight videos incorporate, nor do they need to be filmed with specialized equipment.

What do I need to shoot my skills video?

All you need is a cell phone and someone to help film—or a tripod or similar prop can work just fine. Don’t forget to test out your angles to make sure coaches will be able to get a clear view of your skills!

Some skills, like throwing or pitching may require workarounds. From using a tarp in place of a hitting net or water bottles instead of cones, don’t let a lack of standard equipment stop you from running drills and shooting your skills video. Getting creative will show coaches that nothing stops you from putting in work, regardless of the circumstances.

Where can I shoot my skills video?

If you don’t have access to your regular practice space or a gym, one of the best things about skills videos is that they can be shot virtually anywhere, including garages, backyards, driveways, parks, playgrounds and even empty parking lots—anywhere you have enough space to safely run drills works!

Where do I post my skills video?

Once you’ve filmed and edited your skills video, make it easy for college coaches to see it! You can upload your video to Hudl or YouTube and add it to your NCSA profile.

When you’re communicating with college coaches via email, social media or texts, include a link to your video and let them know it’s your skills video. Don’t forget to tell coaches when it was shot and if there were any unique circumstances that led you to film the video, like a canceled summer or fall season.

The bottom line? College coaches don’t need flashy videos with all the bells and whistles! While a skills video alone may not get you recruited, it will show college coaches that your work ethic, character and athleticism can overcome adversity and handle any challenge that comes your way.

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The impact of coronavirus on college athletic recruiting

School sports communities have been impacted by the coronavirus and as a result have postponed or canceled tournaments, showcases, camps and competitions. In addition to coronavirus-related updates, the below resources aggregate the status and recommendations of the national governing bodies for high school and club athletics. For the official status for a specific event or location, it is best to contact the event’s operator directly for the most up-to-date information. 

Reaching out to college coaches, being mindful of important recruiting dates and staying up to date on recruiting rule changes has always been an important part of the recruiting process. Athletes and families who keep these things top-of-mind tend to stay a step ahead in the college recruiting process and have a better shot at securing a roster spot through more opportunities. Use these pages to see updates about your sport from various governing bodies so that you can make informed decisions about college recruiting. 

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Sport-specific coronavirus resources



Baseball

Golf

Swimming & Diving

Basketball

Hockey

Tennis

Beach Volleyball

Lacrosse

Track and Field

Esports

Rowing

Volleyball

Field Hockey

Soccer

Water Polo

Football

Softball

Wrestling



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Club sports coronavirus information

The response to coronavirus varies from state to state, which means some club sports teams are continuing to run as scheduled while others are making tough decisions to postpone and cancel tournaments, showcases, camps and competitions. 

View the complete list of club sports organizations and their updates.

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Coronavirus college updates and information

The spread of coronavirus has compelled colleges and universities across the country to cancel in-person classes and on-campus events. Many classes are moving online indefinitely. Multiple institutions have also decided to close their on-campus housing in order to help slow the spread of the virus. The NCAA was forced to cancel their winter and spring seasons and has recommended all colleges discontinue official and unofficial college visits for recruits. College sports conferences have been affected as well.

Attending camps on college campuses and partaking in official and unofficial visits are an important part of the college recruiting process. Athletes and families visit campuses to consider the social fit of colleges and find their best college match. Unfortunately, this will be difficult or impossible to do at certain colleges during this time.  

View a list of cancelled or cut sports programs, school closings, and return to play guidelines for each NCAA and NAIA college by state.

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Cancelled and cut sports programs for the 2020-2021 academic year (or specific seasons)

Updated August 12, 2020

In an effort to protect athletes, coaches and staff from the spread of COVID-19, many college athletic programs have chosen to delay or cancel fall sports. Hundreds of college athletic programs including Boston University, Johns Hopkins University and Lehigh University as well as NCAA conferences like the Big Ten and Pac-12 continue to announce the cancellation or delay of all fall sports seasons.

In addition, colleges continue to face budget shortfalls as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, resulting in the elimination of more than 300 college sports programs across the NCAA, NAIA and NJCAA, including teams at the University of Iowa, University of Minnesota, Brown University, Stanford University, George Washington University and Wiliam and Mary.

See a list of all cancelled athletics and sports programs for the 2020-21 season.

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The latest recruiting news

COVID-19 has directly impacted college recruiting across all sports. As athletes and coaches adapt to new challenges in order to maintain their recruiting process, it's unclear how recruiting will be affected long-term. We’re closely following the latest news on coronavirus and college recruiting and compiled a list of recent coverage below:

ESPN

Los Angeles Times 

Scripps News Service

  • College recruiters weigh in on delayed sports season (Updated August 5) - High school sports programs around the country are trying to figure out what the fall season will look like. In California, the sports season will be delayed until December or January. So, what does that mean for students hoping to play in college?

FOX News

US News and World Report 

Washington Post

New York Times

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College sports coronavirus information: NCAA, NAIA, and Junior College COVID-19 updates

With the health and safety of student-athletes in mind, the NCAA has canceled all winter and spring NCAA championships and all in-person recruiting through January 1. However, the NCAA has also agreed to let NCAA member schools make their own decisions regarding the health and safety of their coaches, student-athletes, staff, recruits and communities. Since the NCAA may implement different actions than individual colleges and universities, check this section to stay up on the NCAA’s policies and response.

NCAA Division 1 COVID-19 updates

NCAA Division 2 COVID-19 updates

NCAA Division 3 COVID-19 updates

NAIA COVID-19 updates

Junior College: NJCAA & CCCAA COVID-19 updates

Other important announcements regarding coronavirus and college sports

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The impact of coronavirus on NCAA eligibility requirements

For student-athletes, academics and athletics go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, coronavirus has directly impacted both of these—canceling athletic seasons and rescheduling standardized test dates. Despite these changes, student-athletes must still meet specific eligibility requirements, per the NCAA eligibility center, to get recruited.

NCAA eligibility extension

All NCAA division levels have extended eligibility relief to fall sport athletes enrolled to compete during the 2020-21 season. Read how each division level is addressing eligibility relief and how this impacts the college recruiting process.

The latest news related to NCAA eligibility updates and standardized testing schedule changes:

NCAA Division 1 eligibility updates

NCAA Division 2 eligibility updates

NCAA Division 3 eligibility updates

General NCAA eligibility updates

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ACT testing dates updated

ACT has added additional testing dates for the fall and shut down multiple test sites for the July 18, 2020 national test date. ACT is also taking extra steps for handling COVID-19, as well as offering rescheduling and refunds.

2019–2020 Test Dates (National)

Registration Deadline

Late Registration (Fee Required)

June 13, 2020

May 8, 2020

May 9–22, 2020

July 18, 2020*

June 19, 2020

June 20–26, 2020

September 12, 2020

September 13, 2020

September 19, 2020

August 14, 2020

August 15–28, 2020

October 10, 2020

October 17, 2020

October 24, 2020

October 25, 2020

September 17, 2020

September 18 – September 25, 2020

December 12, 2020

November 6, 2020

November 7–20, 2020

February 6, 2021

January 8, 2021

January 9–15, 2021

April 17, 2021

March 12, 2021

March 13–26, 2021

June 12, 2021

May 7, 2021

May 8–21, 2021

July 17, 2021*

June 18, 2021

June 19–25, 2021

*No test centers are scheduled in New York for the July test dates.

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SAT testing dates updated

SAT is working to expand availability of the test while also keeping in mind public health restrictions and working with limited seating capacity. Some test centers may still encounter unexpected closures. For more information, keep up with SAT coronavirus updates.

Anticipated 2020–21 SAT Test Dates

Registration Deadline

Late Registration Deadline

     

August 29, 2020

July 31, 2020

August 11, 2020 (for mailed registrations). August 18, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone).

September 26, 2020

August 26, 2020

September 15, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone)

October 3, 2020

September 4, 2020

September 15, 2020 (for mailed registrations). September 22, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone).

November 7, 2020

October 7, 2020

October 20, 2020 (for mailed registrations). October 27, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone).

December 5, 2020

November 5, 2020

November 17, 2020 (for mailed registrations). November 24, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone).

March 13, 2021

February 12, 2021

February 23, 2021 (for mailed registrations). March 2, 2021 (for registrations made online or by phone).

May 8, 2021

April 8, 2021

April 20, 2021 (for mailed registrations). April 27, 2021 (for registrations made online or by phone).

June 5, 2021

May 6, 2021

May 18, 2021 (for mailed registrations). May 26, 2021 (for registrations made online or by phone).



See SAT Dates and Deadlines for more information.

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College sports coronavirus news

While the NCAA and individual colleges and sports departments will make announcements about their policy changes and responses to the coronavirus and public safety, media outlets are diving deeper into the response to provide analysis on how this affects student-athletes, potential recruits and families. Reference this section to see updates on developments regarding the coronavirus and college sports.

Reuters 

ESPN

Sports Illustrated  

  • What will it take for a college football game to be postponed? (Updated September 16) - College athletic leaders are bracing themselves for game interruptions connected to team-wide viral outbreaks. The season has yet to start, and already three scheduled openers have been delayed because of COVID-19 clusters.
  • PSU Doctor Warns of COVID-19 Causing Heart Inflammation in Athletes (Updated September 3) - Penn State's director of athletic medicine says roughly a third of Big Ten athletes who contracted COVID-19 have shown symptoms of myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. Myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle that reduces the heart’s ability to pump blood and can be fatal if not addressed.

New York Times

24/7 Sports

NBC News

  • As college sports programs pivot, mental health becomes bigger priority (Updated September 2) - Athletic directors and coaches aren’t simply charged with the monumental task of preventing the spread of the virus among their players. They’re also acknowledging the need to address the possibility of a more silent, but equally serious, mental health crisis among student athletes for whom the pandemic has shaken and stripped their sense of identity and normalcy.

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How parents and student-athletes think COVID-19 will impact their recruiting process

In early May, NCSA completed a survey of 3,350+ parents and student-athletes across various sports to gauge the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their college recruiting process. The survey results show that parents and student-athletes remain optimistic about scholarship opportunities and the prospect of attending summer camps yet are wary about the future of college sports.

Review key findings in our parent/athlete survey results infographic and then get a complete, detailed breakdown of the student-athlete and parent survey insights on recruiting during coronavirus.

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State level coronavirus information and local rules

To prevent the spread of COVID-19 in communities, states are following Federal Guidance on social gatherings. State and local health organizations are also making frequent updates, in reaction to recent data on confirmed cases and deaths in their respective areas. 

This information is extremely important for youth sports organizers and staff responsible for planning sporting events. As a result, a vast majority of athletic events, like camps, tournaments and showcases have been canceled. 

In the case that an event continues as scheduled, the event operators should be prepared with an emergency operations/communications plan, in addition to supplying messages and materials to promote preventative actions, such as extra soap and hand sanitizer. Athletes and their families who attend these events should also follow preventative measures to protect themselves and those around them. 

To find the most up-to-date information in your state, view the full list of U.S. state and territorial health department websites.

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Official sources of coronavirus information

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a pandemic on Wednesday March 11, 2020. Many countries are grappling with a rise in confirmed cases. In the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance on changes to daily life that are necessary to slow the spread of coronavirus within communities.

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About NCSA

The impacts of COVID-19 are being felt throughout the sports community. As we head into the spring and summer season, there is a lot of uncertainty into how the youth sports community will be impacted. At NCSA we are believers on the importance of sports first and recruiting experts second. We are making all of our research into the impacts of COVID-19 public to help in any way we can. We will continue to update these materials as updates are necessary. Please send any questions or requests to updates@ncsasports.org.

Disclaimer: 

In light of recent events surrounding the Coronavirus, NCSA has assembled this site as a resource for relevant news and information as it relates to its impact on youth, high school, club and college sports.

The news, material, resources, tools and information (“Content”) contained on this site is for general information purposes only, and should not be used as a basis for making any business, legal, medical or any other decision, or to self-diagnose, diagnose, self-treat, or treat any health-related, medical, mental health, or other condition.  Inclusion of any Content on this site does not imply (expressly or otherwise) NCSA’s support for or endorsement of any of the sources of such Content (or anything contained therein), nor has NCSA independently reviewed or verified any of the information contained herein and therein. 

NCSA makes no representations or warranties of any kind, expressed or implied, about the completeness, veracity, accuracy, reliability, suitability, timeliness or applicability of the site or the Content contained therein for any purpose whatsoever, and all users acknowledge and agree that any use of the site or Content is solely and exclusively at their own risk. 

The site and Content are not meant to represent, replace, or supplement the advice or guidance of trained medical, health or epidemiology professionals. In no event shall NCSA or its employees, directors, officers, agents, subcontractors, or affiliates have any liability, whatsoever, for any damages, costs, expenses, claims, judgments, risks, or otherwise arising out of, relating to, or associated with any users’ use of, interaction with, or reliance upon the site or Content.

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