The NCAA Division I Council voted on Wednesday to allow voluntary on-campus activities for football and men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes starting June 1.
The council members made the decision via a virtual meeting. The activities will be allowed “as long as all local, state and federal regulations are followed,” the NCAA said in a statement.
Sports across the country have been on hold since mid-March because of the coronavirus. The NCAA banned all sporting activities through May 31.
Conferences and schools have been preparing for students to return to campus for voluntary workouts, and the Southeastern Conference is expected to vote Friday on allowing student-athletes to return on either June 1 or June 15.
The NCAA on Wednesday also extended the blanket waiver allowing football and basketball teams to hold eight hours per week of virtual nonphysical activities through the end of June, recognizing that some student-athletes won’t be able to return to campus or will not be comfortable doing so, the NCAA said.
The status of voluntary activities for the other sports along with other activities in football and men’s and women’s basketball will be determined later via an electronic vote, the NCAA said.
Voluntary on-campus athletics activity must be initiated by the student-athlete, the NCAA said. 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.
Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said Tuesday in his bi-weekly Zoom conference that A&M is making plans for the return of student-athletes to campus “once we’re given an all clear though the SEC.”
Bjork has said he would rather A&M athletes use the school’s facilities instead of public gyms, which began opening Monday. A&M’s athletic facilities include four weight rooms. The school also opened the Student Recreation Center at 10 a.m. Monday.
“In our facilities, we can operate in a manner where we can protect our student-athletes inside of our facilities more so than we believe [they will be protected] out in the community,” Bjork said.
Bjork said A&M can screen athletes when they walk in, maintain social distancing practices and be able to stagger workouts if needed because it has multiple weight rooms.