Last week fans of college football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball were rejoicing when the National Collegiate Athletics Association announced that, starting June 1, those three sports could begin the process to return to athletic activities on college campuses. By the end of the week, fans of all other collegiate sports celebrated when it was announced that their sports would follow suit. The process to the return of activities in all sports can start back up beginning Monday, June 1, as well as the extension of a waiver allowing for eight hours of required virtual nonphysical activities in all sports.
“The return of voluntary activity in addition to the extension of the waiver to allow virtual, nonphysical activity shows sensitivity to local, state and regional differences in how Division I campuses are reopening,” council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletic director at Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “We will continue to be considerate of these differences with wise and flexible administration of our regulations, and we expect schools to keep the well-being of student-athletes as a priority.”
According to the release, countable required athletics activities will be prohibited through June 30 for all basketball and football student-athletes. While that might be the case, though, schools can give funds equal to what student-athletes would receive for meals, lodging and expenses other than tuition, fees and books.
Not all news was positive from the NCAA, though. Schools cannot host camps and clinics this summer and coaches cannot work at football camps and clinics held by other four-year NCAA schools in 2020. That ban on camps and clinics could continue if the recruiting dead period, which is currently in place through June 30, is extended by the NCAA once again.
This news came on the same day that college football fans got a sense of hope and optimism. The Southeastern Conference, which is the biggest conference in college football, announced that it had voted to allow its member schools to return to on-campus activities beginning Monday, June 8. Each school will work with state and school officials to determine when the best time to start those activities is, but it looks like a positive step in the right direction to have a college football season in 2020.
“Once you get players on campus and it becomes normal, as opposed to a, ‘new normal,’ then I think the ADs who make recommendations to the presidents, those presidents are going to feel more comfortable with the green light,” ESPN analyst Paul Finebaum said on SportsCenter after the announcement. “I am going to be very surprised at this point, if these incremental moves don’t occur, where you start getting players back on campus, you get the media days in the middle of July, and sometime between June 8 and the end of that month, I think you’ll see, perhaps an announcement by everyone that, yes, the college football season begins on time.”
JP Raineri can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.