Here’s to guessing the Oklahoma head football coach is completely on board with this approach. Even as it’ll put him nearly a month behind other Power Five programs.
When word began to surface that some conferences/schools would possibly be allowing its player to return to campus June, Lincoln Riley blasted the notion.
“All the talk about these schools wanting to bring players back on June 1 is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard,” the coach said in mid-May. “We’ve got to be patient. We have one good shot at it. …
“It would be completely irresponsible to bring these guys in too early. We need to bring these guys in as late as we can. Every day they come in could be a day we could’ve gotten better, learned more about the virus, the [personal protection equipment] gets better, a day closer to a vaccine, the testing capabilities get better. It’s just not worth it.”
Two weeks later, Oklahoma has announced that it will reopen its facilities July 1 for voluntary football workouts. That’s exactly one month beyond the date to which the NCAA gave the green light last week.
According to the program, returning Oklahoma football players will need to be evaluated and cleared by the OU medical staff before they can participate in the voluntary activities. OU added that the players “will be continuously monitored and will be expected to adhere to a number of safety protocols and guidelines.”
“As I have stated before, we are going to approach this return with extreme care,” Riley said in a statement. “We have received tremendous guidance from highly respected medical professionals, and we will follow their recommendations. We understand that the well-being of our student-athletes is at the top of our responsibilities. That’s why we will be diligent in how we manage everything from the way we relate to each other to the cleaning of our facilities and beyond.
“Our medical personnel have told us that the safest thing we can do is keep our players off campus for as long as possible. We chose the latest point that we could bring them back and still have enough time to prepare.”