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NCAA Council formally approves six-week preseason model for football, which will begin July 13 for teams that start season Sept. 5

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The NCAA is proceeding with a significant step toward prepping for the 2020 college football season.

Earlier this month, it was confirmed that the NCAA Div. I Oversight Committee was crafting a plan that would shape the path college football programs would take to prepare for the upcoming season.  Last week, the NCAA announced that it has finalized its proposal for a preseason model for the sport.  However, the plan still needed the approval of the NCAA Division I Council.

Thursday, that expected thumbs-up came to fruition as the council has approved what will essentially be a six-week preseason for college football.  The NCAA writes that, “[a]ssuming a first game on Sept. 5, the model begins summer access activities July 13 and adds meetings and walk-throughs July 24.  Preseason practice begins Aug. 7.” Schools that open the seasoning Week 0 (Aug. 29), all of the dates would get seven days subtracted from them.  It’s unclear if teams whose first games are Sept. 3 will follow the Sept. 5 model or not.

The activities mentioned do not include the ongoing voluntary on-campus workouts.

As for the particulars?  The NCAA referred to its previous release as a guideline:

… student-athletes may be required to participate in up to eight hours of weight training, conditioning and film review per week (not more than two hours of film review per week) from July 13-23.

Then, from July 24 through Aug. 6, student-athletes may be required to participate in up to 20 hours of countable athletically related activities per week (not more than four hours per day) as follows:

— Up to eight hours per week for weight training and conditioning.
— Up to six hours per week for walk-throughs, which may include the use of a football.
— Up to six hours per week for meetings, which may include film review, team meetings, position meetings, one-on-one meetings, etc.
— During this 14-day period, student-athletes are required to get at least two days off.

The model does not make any adjustments to the legislated 29-day preseason practice period. In the previous example, the school’s preseason practice period would begin Aug. 7 with a five-day acclimatization period, followed by the opportunity for up to 25 on-field practices.

NCAA Oversight Committee crafting six-week practice period ahead of start of season

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The on-ramp to the 2020 college football season is coming into focus.

A significant milestone was reached last month when the NCAA announced it would allow member institutions to commence voluntary on-campus workouts June 1.  June 17, the NCAA Division I Council is expected to vote on a plan that would shape the path college football programs would take to prepare for the upcoming season.

That plan is currently being crafted by the NCAA’s Division I Football Oversight Committee. A draft of that group’s plan is expected to be finalized this Thursday, June 11.  The committee will then submit their plan to Div. I Council for approval.

As it stands now, ESPN.com is reporting, the committee is working on what would be a six-week run-up to the upcoming college football season.  For schools that begin the next campaign Labor Day weekend, the current proposal calls for mandatory workouts to commence July 13, followed by enhanced training July 24.  A standard summer camp would then kick off Aug. 7.  During the mandatory workouts and enhanced training, players will not be permitted to wear either helmets or pads,  They will, though, be permitted to use footballs.

Coaches, who, other than strength staff, can’t oversee the current voluntary workouts, would be permitted to take part throughout the entire six-week practice period being developed.

Of course, the schools scheduled to start the college football season the week before Labor Day — Notre Dame-Navy in Annapolis included — would see the three phases of the plan initiated earlier.  Whether it’s exactly a week earlier remains to be seen, although that would make the most sense.

As we stated earlier, the plan is still being crafted.  Therefore, it isn’t finalized.  In that vein, the first phase, the mandatory workouts, could be shortened.  From ESPN.com:

West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, who is chair of the Football Oversight Committee, told ESPN’s Andrea Adelson that there is one area that might change between the proposed calendar and what gets approved on Thursday, and that is shortening the window between the start of required workouts on July 13 and the start of enhanced training on July 24.

“Some people are thinking the summer access is too long,” Lyons said, based on feedback the committee has already received. “There’s a concern by making that part a requirement, it extends it to too long a period and whether that should be adjusted to make it shorter. Instead of starting on the 13th, start on the 20th. I haven’t heard of all the concerns and that’s why it was put out to the conferences, to start getting more input.

Again, final approval from the Council is slated to be announced two weeks from Wednesday.  At that time, we’ll have a greater understanding as to exactly what the prep work for the upcoming college football season will entail.  Provided there is a 2020 college football season, of course.

Report: Two Marshall football players test positive for COVID-19, are in isolation

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It appears Marshall will serve as a guinea pig for the rest of the college football world.

Monday, Marshall announced that three individuals — two student-athletes and one university employee — tested positive for coronavirus.  It was subsequently reported that the two student-athletes are Marshall football players.  According to the school, none of the three cases are related.

All three, incidentally, are asymptomatic.  None of the names are being released by the university.

Ahead of the return to campus, the individuals were tested for the virus.  All three are, per university protocol, now in isolation.  Their close contacts are being identified and instructed to follow appropriate protocols, including quarantine or self-isolation, the university stated.

Below are some of the guidelines being followed by the university:

  • All student-athletes arriving on campus are in mandatory self-isolation for one week;
  • Following the completion of the self-isolation period, all student-athletes are tested for COVID-19 and must return a confirmed negative result before being allowed out of self-isolation;
  • All Athletic Department employees who come in close contact with student-athletes are being tested; and
  • Any student-athlete returning a positive test is required to quarantine and follow positive test guidelines. A student-athlete who tests positive will be required to secure a negative test before completing the quarantine period.

“It shows that what you are doing is working,” said Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick. “If a positive comes up, we’ve caught it and we can quarantine them. Everyone else was negative and what we set out to do with our testing is working. I think that’s the positive thing about it. You want to know. That’s why you test.”

College Football Hall of Fame damaged amidst protests in Atlanta overnight

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In the wake of the murder of George Floyd, protests have erupted across the country.  Overnight, those protests hit the home for college football history.

A peaceful protest in Atlanta Friday turned violent later in the night as many numerous businesses in the city were vandalized and looted.  According to myriad media outlets, one of those that suffered damage was the College Football Hall of Fame.

Fortunately, one of the reports stated, “none of the artifacts or history memorabilia was damaged… just the glass in front of the store.” One report, though, described the hall as being “destroyed.”

“First and foremost, our hearts go out to the friends and family of George Floyd,” College Football Hall of Fame CEO Kimberly Beaudin said in a statement. “We support the peaceful protests that honor his memory but unfortunately they deteriorated into chaos and disorder. We are heartbroken to see the damage to our city and the Hall of Fame. As our Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said, we are better than this, better than this as a city, and better than this as a country.

“In the coming days and weeks, we’ll work to pick up the pieces, to build back the sacred walls that housed memories and honored those who played the game many of whom fought these same injustices throughout their storied careers.”

Conference USA, Sun Belt announce future bowl affiliations

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If there is a 2020 college football season, it would stand to reason there Will Likely be bowl games.  And, courtesy of Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference, we have some bowl games news.

The former conference announced its bowl lineup Thursday for the 2020-25 seasons.  Per the league, they are guaranteed appearances in seven bowl games annually throughout this six-year cycle.  C-USA will be affiliated in some form or fashion with 15 total bowl games, although only two — Bahamas Bowl, R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl — are guaranteed to feature a school from that conference every year.

Conference USA is also guaranteed to send a school to the bowl game in Shreveport, LA, in both 2021 and 2025.  They hold a secondary agreement with that same postseason game the other years of the cycle.  Additionally, a C-USA school will play in the Hawaii Bowl in the years 2020, 2022 and 2024.

As for the remaining bowl slots?  From the Conference USA release:

The conference’s remaining guaranteed selections in the cycle (either 4 or 5 per season) will include the LendingTree Bowl (Mobile, Alabama) and the following games which are owned and operated by ESPN Events:

1. Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas)
2. TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl (Birmingham, Alabama)
3. Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, Florida)
4. Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Alabama)
5. Cure Bowl (Orlando, Florida)
6. Fenway Bowl (Boston, Massachusetts)
7. SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dallas, Texas)
8. Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl (Frisco, Texas)
9. Gasparilla Bowl (Tampa, Florida)
10. Myrtle Beach Bowl (Myrtle Beach, South Carolina)
11. New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

“We are very pleased with our future bowl lineup,” said C-USA commissioner Judy MacLeod in a statement. “Our teams will continue to have postseason opportunities in outstanding destinations that are very accessible to our schools and their fans. We are also excited to have additional flexibility to create great matchups.”

Now, on to the Fun Belt.

Like its Group of Five counterpart, the Sun Belt announced its bowl tie-ins for the same six-season cycle.  Like C-USA, the SBC will hold an annual spot in the R+L Carriers Bowl.  The league will also play in the Lending Tree Bowl all six years.

The remaining tie-ins are as follows:

ESPN Events will hold the first, third and fourth selections and will utilize a flex model to select teams into the following pool of games:

• Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, FL)
• Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, AL)
• Cure Bowl (Orlando, FL)
• Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, ID)
• SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dallas, TX)
• Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl (Frisco, TX)
• Myrtle Beach Bowl (Myrtle Beach, SC)
• New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque, NM)

“We are coming off of our most successful season in Sun Belt history,” said Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill. “We’re excited to provide a flex model that allows for our fans and schools to go to desirable locations with exciting opponents that are easily accessible and provides more revenue than the previous bowl cycle.”