NCAA D-I Council Approves Voluntary Activities For Football & Basketball

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The NCAA D-I Council voted to end the current moratorium for sports through May 31st. (PHOTO COURTESY: VisualHunt.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Today was a good day for NCAA Division I basketball and football players.

The NCAA D-I Council voted to end the current moratorium this afternoon on all athletic activities through May 31 and allow student-athletes to return to their respective campus for summer workouts from June 1 to June 30.

The news of today’s announcement was confirmed and reported by Yahoo‘s Pete Thamel, as well as Sports Illustrated.

Student-athletes that compete in other sports, such as soccer or field hockey, could learn as soon as next week if they would be allowed to return to campus to start their training for hopefully a fall season.

While it is not expected that every student-athlete will bolt back to campus to begin their respective training, it is likely that schools will welcome back athletes that may be living on campus or nearby. Perhaps more athletes will follow – in fact, Thamel reported that some colleges could see up to 25 or 30 student-athletes on campus next month, but of course, social distancing will be enforced in weight rooms and other facilities

Today’s ruling could be the sign of more good news to come as the 2020 college football season is currently slated to commence at the end of August.

These upcoming workouts won’t be the same as they have been in the past, according to Sports Illusrtrated, which reported in its story that student-athletes would normally spend eight hours a week training, including six hours with their school’s training staff.

Testing Will Be The Key For College Football

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Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby knows testing will be key for college football players. (PHOTO COURTESY: Rose Baca/The Dallas Morning News)

By Matt Noonan 

Testing, testing, and more testing will be the key for not just any organization to be safe and successful during the ongoing pandemic, but also college football. And that seemed to be the message from Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby when speaking earlier today alongside other college athletic officials during a webinar that was hosted by LEAD1 Association.

When it comes to college football, Bowlsby believes players will need to be tested for COVID-19 “probably every two or three days.” But testing, according to the Big 12 commissioner, isn’t the only thing schools must do to protect their student-athletes. Colleges will need to rethink how student-athletes enter and depart their athletic facilities to coming up with a plan with possibly redoing their locker rooms to making sure shared spaces are sanitized. And of course, the list goes on.

“There are things that are arduous and will take time and will be absolutely essential to the ongoing mitigation of the risks,” said Bowlsby.

Bowlsby admitted colleges, including the schools in his conference, will face different challenges with keeping student-athletes safe compared to professional leagues, which can implement different measures for its athletes. But while Bowlsby, as well as his colleagues, know challenges loom ahead, he does believe this “voyage” everyone is on must lead to innovative thinking with answering the question of how to return students to safely to the playing field.

Said Bowlsby, “This is going to be continual voyage of discovery, and we’ll have to innovate going forward to meet the demands.”

Notre Dame Will Welcome Back Students For The Fall Semester

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The University of Notre Dame logo. (PHOTO COURTESY: Wikipedia)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The University of Notre Dame is planning to open its doors for the fall semester. And classes – yes, classes – will be held in-person, not remotely.

Notre Dame, which shut its doors in mid-March due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), announced earlier today that the fall semester will begin two weeks earlier than scheduled during the week of August 10 and conclude before Thanksgiving. Additionally, the school will not have an October break.

The University has canceled academic and summer programs through July 6, but the campus has been the home to some students “whose summer work is preparatory for the fall semester,” according to Father John I. Jenkins, C.S.C.

“By far the most complex challenge before us is the return of our students to campus for the resumption of classes in the fall semester,” Father Jenkins wrote in today’s announcement about the upcoming fall semester.

While it will certainly be a challenge to bring every member of the student body, as well as the faculty and staff back to campus, Father Jenkins knows for Notre Dame will be prepared to carry out its safety plan, which will include testing, contact tracing, quarantining and isolating, along with social distancing and mask-wearing. Notre Dame said it plans to enhance its “cleaning of all campus spaces,” and has identified certain facilities to house those that test positive or came in contact with someone that has the virus. They also plan to develop signage while utilizing various forms of communication to stay in touch with the campus community.

“As we adapt to the new normal brought on by the coronavirus, we will do everything we can to provide you with a safe learning, research, and working environment,” Jenkins wrote.

While the news should certainly spark excitement for Notre Dame students, there was however, nothing reported about sporting events, including the university’s football team, which is scheduled to play its first game of the 2020 season at home on September 12 against Arkansas

Noontime Commentary: Where Things Stand With College Football

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The question of if and when college football returns should be answered in the coming weeks. (PHOTO COURTESY: Ken Lund on Visualhunt.com / CC BY-SA)

By Matt Noonan 

For the moment, it appears as if the upcoming college football season is in limbo.

There has been a lot of talk and insight from various minds these past few weeks about the 2020 season. Some think a 12-week campaign is feasible while others are hesitant – can we really play games in the midst of a pandemic?

And then there is the issue surrounding testing. Will there be enough for every player, coach, and team representative? How many times will they need to be tested? And what happens if a coach, player, or team representative contracts the virus? Would that mean Saturday’s game against Clemson University or Florida State is canceled or postponed?

As Notre Dame‘s athletic director Jack Swarbrick told Sports Illustrated last week, “Statistically, if you have 20,000 students on campus, chances are pretty good that some are coming back with the virus. We’ll be testing like crazy.”

Testing will be the key for not just Notre Dame, but every institution – big or small – with keeping students, faculty, and staff safe during these unprecedented times.

While many are anxious for some news and announcements about the upcoming college football season, as well as if and when schools will be open, it appears those decisions should be coming in the next few weeks. And it is possible some decisions such as if and when a fall sports season could occur, may come as late as mid-July.

So, for the moment, we wait and anxiously scour the internet and social media for any breadcrumb we can find about the upcoming college football season, along with the new normal.

WVU’s Lyons Believes Not Every College Football Team Will Play This Fall

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West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons believes the upcoming college football season may not include every program. (PHOTO COURTESY: Photo by BlueGoldNews.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

West Virginia University Director of Athletics Shane Lyons knows the upcoming college football season will look a bit different than it has in the past. He also thinks some programs will not be able to play this fall due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Friday evening, he shared some insight with college football fans – as well as all college sports followers, too – on the NCAA‘s Twitter handle during a brand new ‘Social Series.’ And this particular series – well, the show, to be exact – was all about college football.

“I do think that there’s going to be those situations where there’s not going to be a hundred percent participation,” said Lyons, who is the Chair of the Division I Football Oversight Committee.

Lyons’s point is valid – it is hard to see every institution open its doors to students, faculty, and staff, as well as field a football team in a few months, especially in mid-May – but he also highlighted another important wrinkle to the equations about delaying the start of the season if only some teams are ready to play. And it is certainly possible that only a handful or more of schools will be able to compete in late August or early September, which would make scheduling a bit tricky.

“Do we all wait until its one hundred percent or if eighty percent of the schools are ready to go, do we start the season? And I think that’s the discussion that the conference commissioners are going to have to have,” said Lyons.

“We’re not quite there yet, but (will the 2020 season be) conference only play, or (are) we still going to have the non-conference competitions and have a 12 week season? So, I think – I don’t have that crystal ball yet to look at it and say, ‘This is the way it’s going to be (because) I think it is very fluid.'”

Lyons – like many – knows there’s a lot of questions about the upcoming season, but the hope is those concerns and ideas will be answered over the next few weeks. He did state, that a decision about the season should be made either before July or “mid-July at the latest.”