NCAA's vote opens door for athletes' return to campuses
Division I football and basketball student-athletes can participate in on-campus voluntary athletics activities beginning June 1, the Division I Council decided in a virtual meeting Wednesday, as long as all local, state and federal regulations are followed.
Additionally, Council members extended the blanket waiver allowing teams in those sports to require eight hours per week of virtual nonphysical activities through the end of June, recognizing that some student-athletes won’t be able return to campus or will not be comfortable doing so.
The status of voluntary athletics activities in all other sports and summer access activities in football and men’s and women’s basketball will be determined via electronic vote.
The Council members emphasized the importance of protecting student-athlete health and safety as schools make decisions about opening facilities for voluntary activities. The Council members also stated that access to facilities should be provided in compliance with applicable state and local regulations regarding the use of such facilities, group size restrictions and any other limits.
“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 Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”
Voluntary on-campus athletics activity must be initiated by the student-athlete. Coaches may not be present unless a sport-specific safety exception allows it, and activity cannot be directed by a coach or reported back to a coach.
Nevada athletics director Doug Knuth issued the following statement in response to the Division 1 council's vote:
“Our most important charge is to protect the health, safety and well-being of our student-athletes. Today’s action by the Division I Council was permissive in nature.
While we are excited for the return of athletic activities,
we are working towards that goal in a safe and diligent manner. We will follow the advice and guidance provided by our medical experts, and act in accordance with policy from the University as well as local, state and federal governments.”