Thanks to Wisconsin, we have yet another Power Five football program set to return to some semblance of normalcy.
Last month, 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 permitted to start returning June 8. Ohio State, Illinois and Penn State from the Big Ten will be doing the same on the same date. And, as far as that goes, so are Clemson, Louisville and Pitt. Nebraska, meanwhile, has targeted June 1. And Indiana? June 15.
Wednesday, Wisconsin announced that, like Indiana, select student-athletes, including some Hoosiers football players, will be permitted to start on-campus workouts June 15. Those workouts, of course, are voluntary.
According to UW, players are returning to school for initial health assessments and COVID-19 testing the week of June 8. Any individual connected to the Badgers football program who shows symptoms of coronavirus will be forced to self-isolate.
From the school’s release as it relates to protocols for the foreseeable future:
All strength and conditioning activities will take place in the Forward Center weight room inside Camp Randall Stadium and the weight room on the lower level of the McClain Center. No other UW Athletics facilities will be open at this point, including the Kohl Center, LaBahn Arena or the Student-Athlete Performance Center (SAPC). A limited number of staff and student-athletes will be allowed into weight rooms at any given time. Strength and conditioning activities will be altered to mitigate risk as much as possible (each station will have sanitation supplies; strength workouts will be conducted on spaced-out weight racks used only by one individual per session; conditioning sessions will take place outdoors unless inclement weather dictates otherwise).
A detailed plan of health-related processes and procedures will be in place to mitigate the risk of illness for student-athletes and staff. A member of the UW Sports Medicine staff will conduct an educational presentation with each team to ensure they know what to expect when they arrive at Camp Randall Stadium. Prior to arrival, all student-athletes will complete health information forms, schedule a health assessment (physical exam) and each will undergo PCR testing (nasal swab) for the COVID-19 virus. Student-athletes will be tested once initially and then again if/when they report symptoms or are believed to have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. Student-athletes will be screened daily before entering UW Athletics facilities. Masks will be worn by student-athletes and staff members at all times other than during conditioning activities.
“We have been working for several weeks on a carefully-constructed plan to begin welcoming our student-athletes and selected staff members back to campus,” UW athletic director Barry Alvarez said in a statement. “We’re very happy to be able to take this step forward, but very cognizant of the need to take great care that our people remain safe. I want to thank our staff, the medical professionals we have worked with and our campus leadership for their efforts in helping us.”