The NCAA has released a long and detailed plan to help schools bring athletes back to campus during the pandemic.
The move comes as schools across the country prepare for the return of athletes as early as June 8.
“Every community is different, and schools may return to campus at different times. But each will have to balance the need to return with the top priority of protecting student-athlete health and well-being,” NCAA Chief Medical Officer Brian Hainline said in a news release. “Until there is a vaccine in place, medical experts recommend adopting specific practices — including testing and social distancing when possible — and having plans in place for stopping spread if and when staff or students test positive for the coronavirus.”
The NCAA last week lifted a moratorium on athletic activities starting Monday.
That cleared the way for voluntary workouts and training to begin at team facilities.
“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 in a news release. “Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”
Schools have already started putting plans in place to test athletes, coaches and staff for the coronavirus and implement social distancing.
The NCAA says its plan is offered as guidance, consistent with federal and local public health guidelines.
The college football season is scheduled to start around Labor Day weekend, with a few games being played the Saturday before the holiday weekend. There is to be a full slate of games from Sept. 3-7.