Division I NCAA student-athletes can officially return to their respective schools’ athletic facilities for workouts on a voluntary basis.
According to the NCAA’s Division I Council vote, schools will be permitted to reopen their athletic facilities on June 1, lifting a moratorium that had previously prohibited Division I sports teams from hosting team activities at their athletic facilities through the end of May.
On May 20, the Division I Council voted to allow football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball players to resume voluntary workouts at on-campus athletic facilities. Then, the council voted to extend that permission to athletes across all sports on May 22.
Based on state and local regulations, schools may open at different dates while they must prioritize the health and safety of their student-athletes when deciding when to reopen their athletic facilities.
“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,” said Penn athletic director M. Grace Calhoun, who is the chair of the Division I Council. “Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”
While voluntary workouts will be available, mandatory workouts for football and basketball teams will remain prohibited until June 30. Coaches cannot direct workouts and the workouts cannot be reported back to coaches, as they must be led by student-athletes. Exceptions are made for football strength and conditioning coaches, who are permitted to be present for safety reasons.
Additionally, schools can continue to require up to eight hours of nonphysical team activities in virtual settings per week through June 30. Schools are also allowed “to provide football student-athletes with funds equal to what they would receive to cover meals, lodging and expenses (other than tuition/fees and books) through a summer athletics scholarship,” according to the NCAA’s announcement on May 22.
In regards to recruiting, the NCAA’s dead period will stay put through June 30. The Division I Council also announced May 22 that schools in the Football Bowl Subdivision will not be permitted to host any football camps and clinics in the summer of 2020, and FBS coaches cannot work at any camps hosted by other NCAA schools. On May 20, Ohio State had already made the decision to officially cancel all of its Buckeye Sports Camps for the summer of 2020.
The Buckeyes had some of their coaches back at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in a limited capacity this past week, and they plan to reopen their facilities to football players on June 8, which athletic director Gene Smith confirmed May 20. The athletic facilities at Ohio State will only be open to football players at first, and then the other fall sports will follow once permitted, complying with physical distancing guidelines.
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