The NCAA Division I Council voted to approve voluntary activities for football, men's basketball and women's basketball beginning June 1 and through June 30. The move, reported first Wednesday by Yahoo, allows athletes to return to campus for workouts if their conference and school also decide to lift the suspension of team activities.
College athletic facilities across the country closed in mid-March as the novel coronavirus upended sports in the United States. The NCAA's current moratorium on all athletic activities extends through May 31. The Division I Council will address the resumption of other sports at a later date, Yahoo reported.
Because of varying local and state guidelines, college athletes are not expected to return to campus at the same time.
Conferences and schools can choose to enforce start dates later than June 1. For instance, The Advocate (Louisiana) reported that SEC presidents plan to vote soon on whether schools will bring players back to campus June 1 or June 15. Ohio State Athletic Director Gene Smith told reporters Wednesday that the school planned to allow players to use on-campus facilities on June 8.
Yahoo reported that the NCAA will leave testing protocols to the states and individual schools.
Allowing athletes to return to campus for workouts this summer is the first step toward preparing for a 2020 football season. Without the revenue generated by football, athletic departments would face significant financial challenges.
If players do not have sufficient time on campus this summer for workouts and practices, an on-time start to the football season would be in jeopardy. Most college football teams begin their seasons the first weekend in September.