Wednesday is a significant day for those hoping to see college football return to action this fall.
According to a report by Sports Illustrated, the NCAA Division I Council is set to vote next week on lifting the nation-wide moratorium on on-campus summer activities, allowing for student-athletes to return to campus as soon as June 1. The ban, which began back in March, is set to expire May 31.
The report states that the vote can will result in one of the three following options:
- A ban extension to keep campuses completely shut down
- Opening campuses for voluntary training (without coaching interaction)
- Opening campuses for required training (with coaching)
The likeliest of the three options? Voluntary access, with feedback from coaches and administrators coming leading up to the vote. Nonetheless, Sports Illustrated is reporting that an extension of said ban is unlikely.
The report states that athletic departments across the country are pushing for voluntary workouts with football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball players. In that case, players would be allowed to make their way to campus and work out at team facilities with supervision, while school officials would administer safety precautions such as health screening and sanitization of equipment. A full lift with required training would allow for a maximum of eight hours per week, including six strength coaches and two on-field coaches.
Various conference commissioners told Sports Illustrated last week that they expect schools to bring student-athletes back on campus starting in June, though they’d likely be starting at different times.
This goes along with KSR’s own report on Friday that SEC athletic directors met virtually this week to discuss lifting restrictions on team activities, practices, and other organized gatherings, with Tennessee’s Phil Fulmer being the lone athletic director in the conference to speak out against a potential June 1 return.
After discussing it with the group, Fulmer proposed a potential return date of June 15, though many believed that was too late for players to be ready to start the season on schedule. From there, the discussion was tabled for next week.
The final decision will be up to university presidents and chancellors on May 22, but the league’s athletic directors want to present a unified front. Had Fulmer not spoken up, the assumption is the group would have given the presidents an unanimous recommendation to lift the restrictions to allow players to return to campuses June 1.
Either way, it’s apparent that next week is a significant one for the future of college sports.