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Breaking down the NCAA's face mask policies for college football

Unlike the NFL, the NCAA doesn't impose a penalty when coaches and players don't keep their masks on for the whole game.

AMES, Iowa — Many viewers tuned into Iowa State's thrilling upset of Oklahoma on Saturday night, and are wondering why players and coaches aren't getting any punished for not wearing face masks.

Let's get into it.

The NFL has a strict face mask policy requiring anyone with bench area access to wear a mask at all times. That policy has been enforced, as head coaches like Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks or Kyle Shanahan with the San Francisco 49ers slapped with hefty fines for breaking that policy in Week 1.

The NCAA, unlike the NFL, does not impose penalties for not wearing masks on the sidelines.

Masks are only strongly encouraged, not required.

The guidance sent by the NCAA this summer says: "All athletics personnel are encouraged to wear a mask or cloth face covering at all feasible times, but especially when physical distancing isn't practical or possible."

Instead, the NCAA requires each player to take a pre-competition COVID-19 test, which can produce results in as little as 15 minutes.

In other words, if you're looking to see fines for college football teams not wearing masks, it won't happen unless the NCAA changes their policy.

RELATED: Big 12 to implement rapid COVID-19 tests day before games

RELATED: CDC officially acknowledges COVID-19 can spread by airborne transmission

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