The NCAA announced Wednesday that the Division-I Council has voted to allow on-campus voluntary athletic facilities to be opened by schools starting June 1, as long as the respective schools follow the regulations set up at the local, state and federal levels.
This vote will allow student athletes for football and men’s and women’s basketball to return to campus and use the facilities for workouts, with the remainder of sports still up in the air currently as to when they will be allowed back.
“We encourage each school to use its discretion to make the best decisions possible for football and basketball student-athletes within the appropriate resocialization framework,” council chair M. Grace Calhoun, who is also the athletics director at Pennsylvania, said in the statement. “Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”
Workouts that are required are still not allowed under this new ruling, and, according to the statement: “Voluntary on-campus athletics activity must be initiated by the student-athlete. Coaches may not be present unless a sport-specific safety exception allows it, and activity cannot be directed by a coach or reported back to a coach.”
Ohio State has begun to bring back some of its coaches to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center to work in a limited capacity, and athletic director Gene Smith told the media in a teleconference Wednesday that the team will begin to have players return to campus to workout at the WHAC beginning June 8.
Smith said that not all players will be returning and not all will have to travel due to many remaining around the Columbus area, as well as that he expects players will workout in groups of 10 to allow social distancing to remain in tact.
Among other things that were in the vote by the Division-I Council was a waiver that Football Championship Subdivision, or FCS, programs will not be required to play at least half of their games against FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision) or FCS opponents, and that “sports other than football, basketball, cross country, men’s swimming and diving, indoor and outdoor track and field, and wrestling, teams will not be required to play 50 percent of contests above the required minimum number of contests against Division-I opponents.”
The sports listed are currently still required to play in all of the minimum number of contests per their respective sports against Division-I opponents. There was also an added note that waived the minimum football attendance requirement for FBS teams for the next two seasons.
The full press release can be read here.
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