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Pitt will allow football players to return June 8 for voluntary on-campus workouts

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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.”

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.”

NCAA extends recruiting dead period through July 31; The Association will also allow strength coaches to ‘virtually observe voluntary physical workouts’

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Not surprisingly, the NCAA has reset its recruiting trail policies.  Again.

As the coronavirus pandemic effectively shuttered the sports world, the NCAA announced in mid-March that it was putting a halt to all in-person recruiting until at least April 15.  Last month, that dead period was extended through May 31.  This month, another extension took us to June 30.

As we close in on the month of June, another extension is official.  As expected, the NCAA announced Wednesday evening that the recruiting dead period has been extended through July 31.  That means all in-person recruiting activities — either on-campus or elsewhere — are prohibited.

The latest edict impacts all sports, not just football.

“The extension maintains consistent recruiting rules for all sports and allows coaches to focus on the student-athletes who may be returning to campus,” said Division I Council Coordination Committee chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “The committee is committed to reviewing the dead period again in late June or early July.”

One potential effect of all of these dead-period extension bans?  It could force The Association to, for one year, temporarily get rid of the December Early Signing Period.

The NCAA earlier this month also announced that football programs could begin bringing players back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1.  In the dead-period release, The Association also updated its tack on that front:

Additionally, the committee decided to allow strength and conditioning coaches to virtually observe voluntary physical workouts for health and safety purposes but only if requested by the student-athlete. The measure goes into effect June 1. The strength and conditioning coach will be allowed to observe the workouts and discuss items related to voluntary workouts but not direct or conduct the workout.

The decision was supported by the Committee on Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sports Prevention and Performance Subcommittee. The subcommittee encouraged schools that decide to allow their strength and conditioning coaches to observe voluntary workouts to proactively consider the school’s overarching responsibility to protect the health of and provide a safe environment for each student-athlete. More specifically, the subcommittee stressed that schools should plan for how the strength and conditioning coach should respond if they observe an unsafe workout environment or in the event that a medical emergency occurs during a voluntary session.

The committee will continue to explore the opportunity for strength and conditioning coaches to conduct voluntary workouts virtually, as they do during in-person, on-campus voluntary workouts.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including James Conner proclaiming his ‘body is clean of cancer’

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on May 23, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: P.J. Fleck doesn’t practice what he preaches when it comes to commitment
THE SYNOPSIS: A committed recruit visiting another school?  A big no-no according to the Minnesota head coach. A coach signing a contract extension and leaving for another job shortly thereafter?  No problem.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Alabama, USC will meet at AT&T Stadium for 2020 opener
THE SYNOPSIS: Maybe they will.  Or maybe Alabama will face TCU.

2017

THE HEADLINE: LSU RB Lanard Fournette arrested for illegal gambling at Baton Rouge casino
THE SYNOPSIS: Be honest.  You initially read that as Leonard Fournette, didn’t you? Lanard, of course, Leonard’s younger brother.  Two years later, the younger Fournette left the Tigers football team and withdrew from classes at LSU.  Lanard Fournette ran for 162 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns on 31 carries with the Tigers.  Leonard Fornette was the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft following an All-American career at LSU.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Pitt RB James Conner tweets his ‘body is clean of cancer’
THE SYNOPSIS: What an inspiration the Panther standout was.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Notre Dame AD confident playoff will have room for Irish
THE SYNOPSIS: In 2018, Jack Swarbrick was proven correct as the Irish qualified as  No. 3 seed.  They got bulldozed, however, by eventual national champion Clemson 30-3.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Numbers be damned: Big 12 to keep same name
THE SYNOPSIS: If the Big Ten (14 schools) can, why not?

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, ex-West Virginia coach Bill Stewart dies of a heart attack at 59

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on May 21, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Mississippi State announces four-year extension for Joe Moorhead
THE SYNOPSIS: Less than eight months later, Moorhead was fired by the Bulldogs.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Jim Harbaugh says Michigan is going on safari in South Africa next spring
THE SYNOPSIS:  On an unrelated note, Ohio State has won The Game 15 of the last 16 times its been played.  Michigan’s last win came in 2011.  The season between Jim Tressel’s resignation and Urban Meyer‘s hiring.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Alabama legend Derrick Thomas finally a College Football Hall of Famer
THE SYNOPSIS: As was the case with Tommie Frazier and Deion Sanders, this inexplicable snub was finally (unofficially) rectified.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Detroit Lions reportedly ready to create bowl game
THE SYNOPSIS: The game that would become the Quick Lane Bowl was officially announced two months later.  The main conference tie-in is the ACC and Big Ten.  The MAC serves a secondary tie-in.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Former WVU coach Bill Stewart dead of apparent heart attack
THE SYNOPSIS: The Grafton, WV, native spent 11 seasons as a coach at WVU.  From 2008-10, Stewart served as the head coach of the Mountaineers.

2011

THE HEADLINE: Cross Cleveland off list of possible Big Ten title game sites
THE SYNOPSIS: Indianapolis has hosted every B1G title game since it debuted in 2011.