There’s little doubt that the sport of college football will change when it reopens amidst the coronavirus pandemic. How much change, though, remains to be seen.
It seems fairly certain that, if the 2020 college football season kicks off close to as scheduled, it’ll do so with very limited fans in attendance. But what about the run-up to the start of a new college football season? How are schools going to safely get its players prepared for the upcoming campaign? Ross Dellenger of SI.com this week laid out what could become the new norm in the sport. At least, for the foreseeable future:
Many programs across the country are in the early stages of developing reopening plans for their football and basketball training facilities, transforming them into virus-proof refuges. They’re extending social distancing practices into their buildings, sanitizing them like never before and for those inside, securing personal protective equipment such as gloves and masks. …
Coaches and staff members in masks and gloves. Temperature tests at the front door. Hand sanitizing stations around every corner. Weight room squat racks 20 feet apart. Stairwells with one-way movement, a set for going up and another for going down. Elevators with a maximum occupancy of two. Nutrition stations offering only packaged snacks.
At least in the beginning, some schools won’t allow access to showers. There will be no passing a football back and forth either, at least early on.
No sharing towels or water bottles. No hugging, no high-fiving and no weight-training exercises that require assistance from a spotter.
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Those new safety measures should get put to the test sooner rather than later.
This week, the NCAA will vote on lifting its ban on on-campus athletics, including practices and workouts, perhaps as early as June 1. Also this month, the same group will review its ban on in-person recruiting that’s also in effect until at least June 30.
It’s already been confirmed that the SEC will vote this Friday on whether to bring student-athletes, including college football players, back to campus June 1 or June 15. Of the 14 athletic directors in the conference, just one, Tennessee’s Phillip Fulmer, is not in favor of the June 1 date for a return.