College football has a looming kick-off date of Aug. 29. Many of the sport’s decision-makers remain optimistic about an on-time start. The optimism is in the face of athletic departments throughout the country dealing with positive COVID-19 tests.
At Houston, activities came to a halt after six athletes tested positive for COVID-19 and were symptomatic. Schools have gone through a myriad of measures to create thorough plans to keep student-athletes safe.
Compliance of CDC guidelines in college football
In spite of this preparation, there’s only so much that athletic directors and training staff can do to protect student-athletes once they leave campus facilities.
Some schools, like Ohio State and Indiana, have asked their players to sign a pledge following the Centers for Disease Control guidelines.
The final NCAA plan, receiving approval last week by the Football Oversight Committee after months of discussion, is the sport’s first official concrete timeline.
The unified plan allows coaches and schools to interact with their players for the first time since college sports came to crashing halt in mid-March.
Workout schedules revealed
Schools that begin the season on Labor Day weekend would need to begin required workouts on July 13. An enhanced training schedule will begin on July 24. Their normal, four-week preseason camp would begin on Aug. 7.
Schools that begin on Aug. 29 would begin required workouts on July 6, just a handful of days away.
Scheduling could face scrutiny – and last-minute football schedule changes for college teams
The sport’s decision-makers – through daily and weekly calls – are preparing for a variety of possible schedule changes. Clemson is preparing for their fans to be in the stands.
“At this point, on June 15, we’re moving down the path of having fans for our home games,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich told ESPN on Monday.
At Stanford, where the stadium capacity is roughly 50,000, Muir told the Associated Press that attendance will be guided by county health regulations.
The PAC-12 has required each of its schools to test every student-athlete before returning to campus. The SEC has strongly encouraged it, but not made it a requirement.
The Big 12 and ACC have also left any testing decisions for each individual campus.
Uncertainties regarding testing data, pep bands, cheerleaders, game officials
While testing policies vary from league to league, some schools are releasing testing data while others have not.
What is clear, and this is important, is that college football is moving forward in spite of positive tests. Athletic administrators will soon have to make a tough decision and answer questions about pep bands.
They would also need to determine how to space the cheerleaders, and whether or not game officials should wear masks.
This article comprises of information and media from NBC, ESPN, and the Associated Press.
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Gabriel Schray is an editor and contributing writer for Heartland Newsfeed and the editor-in-chief of Midwest Sports Network. He is one of the top up-and-coming sports play-by-play broadcasters in the United States. He is currently the voice of Adrian College Athletics, where he calls football and hockey. You can hear Schray on ACSN, ACTV, WVAC, BCSN 1, BCSN 2, BCSN Now, JTV Jackson and more. Professional portfolio: GabrielSchray.com