The reopening of college athletic facilities for voluntary workouts on June 1 doesn’t signal a total return to pre-COVID-19 days.
The NCAA has extended the dead period for recruiting activites for all Division I sports through July 31. That ruling will allow schools to focus on the return of its existing student-athletes to campus, along with the myriad testing, cleaning and safety protocols that must be in place to provide an acceptable level of safety.
The dead period extension cancels live periods for evaluations, which typically coincided with football camps on campus for much of June and the last week of July. FBS schools are now banned from hosting camps and clinics during the summer of 2020, and staffers cannot work at any other such camps at four-year NCAA schools during the period. This combination of decisions effectively ends the 2020 football camp season in FBS.
Football camps aren’t the only items affected. Basketball evaluation periods in June and July are now off the board, as are many of the summer camps and events that were staples of the evaluation season. Baseball recruiting, with contact periods set for most of June and July, will also be shut down.
The potential for pushed back camps in other sports, such as basketball, does exist, but conflicts with high school seasons would make it a tight fit, not to mention the availability of venues that might have already been scheduled for other events.
Activities for existing student athletes, however, are continuing to loosen, albeit slightly. Strength coaches will be able to observe student-athletes during their workouts for health and safety reasons, but only if requested to do so by the student-athlete. That allowance also extends in the virtual realm for those not yet returning to campus.
A rather difficult line in that regard was laid down, as the NCAA said, “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.” There is, without question, a good bit of gray area in that edict.
According to the NCAA, schools will also be able to provide a “summer athletics scholarship” equal to the funds they would receive to cover meals, lodging and expenses for football student-athletes during this period.