Count Pitt as the latest football domino to fall. And a positive one at that.
Last week, the NCAA announced that it would allow schools to bring its student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1. The SEC subsequently confirmed its players would be returning June 8. Both Ohio State and Illinois from the Big Ten will be doing the same on the same date. And, as far as that goes, so are Clemson and Louisville. Nebraska, meanwhile, has targeted June 1.
Friday, Pitt confirmed that it will be joining its ACC counterparts by welcoming student-athletes, including football players, back to campus June 8. The athletes will be permitted to participate in voluntary workouts upon their return. Upon that return, the athletes will undergo an unspecified period of quarantine.
The university will also enforce strict protocols. From the school’s release:
- Substantial education for all coaches and student-athletes on Pitt’s safety protocols and their responsibility for maintaining them
- A testing protocol developed with input from infectious disease experts and other medical professionals
- Significantly enhanced cleaning protocols for all athletic facilities
- Mandatory daily screening questionnaire and temperature check for student-athletes and staff
- Utilization of personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize exposure and potential virus spread
- Social distancing guidelines for meetings and workouts, as well as strategic use of smaller groups for strength and conditioning sessions
- Contact tracing course completion by all athletics training staff members
“Preparation for the safe return of our student-athletes, beginning with football on June 8, has been a comprehensive team effort,” athletic director Heather Lyke said in a statement. “Our athletic department has worked diligently with University leadership and medical experts using one guiding principle: the health and well-being of our student-athletes and staff. Our current climate dictates that we stay vigilant and flexible in response to fluid circumstances. However, thanks to the efforts of many outstanding medical professionals, we are confident in our campus return plan.”