Thecoronavirus pandemiccontinues to rattle the college sports landscape, leaving many questions unanswered.
But before a new normal can begin to take shape, colleges and universities will have to find a safe way to reopen campuses. Complex, high-stakes public health issues need to be dealt with before there is a good sense of what college sports will look like.
Here is the latest news and updates from the college sports world.
Latest news: SEC sets its plan in motion
Friday, May 22
The SEC announced athletes canbegin using facilities on campus for voluntary workouts June 8under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each university. Presidents and chancellors from the SEC’s 14 universities made the final call after extensive conversations within the league involving commissioner Greg Sankey, athletic directors and medical officials.
Big Ten leaving decisions up to individual schools:The Big Ten is not expected to make a leaguewide announcement on athletes returning to campus,leaving the decision to individual schools, league sources told ESPN on Friday. The conference will defer to NCAA rulings and guidelines with each campus, state and local area.
Power Five baseball coaches propose later season:A group of coaches, led by Michigan’s Erik Bakich areproposing a later start to the collegiate baseball seasonto save on expenses, help the fans enjoy the game and reduce injury. The proposition would move the start of the season to March, which would push back the College World Series to late July.
NCAA moves to allow student athletes back on June 1:The announcement on Friday states that players from all sports will be allowed toparticipate in voluntary athletic activities on-campusstarting on June 1.
Texas Governor believes football, “with fans,” will start on time:Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that he thinkfootball will return this fallwith “some level” of fans.The University of Texas had previously stated its intent to open campus for the fall semester, which begins on August 26. The Texas Longhorns’ first game of the season, a home contest against South Florida, is slated for September 5.
Thursday, May 21
Nick Saban scolds Crimson Tide mascot for lack of mask in PSA
Alabama’s Nick Saban participates in a fun PSA with mascot Big AL to encourage mask wearing and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.
Alabama coach Nick Saban scolded Crimson Tide mascot Big Alfor not wearing a mask and not maintaining proper social distancing as part of a public service announcement released Thursday by Alabama football. It’s the latest PSA that Saban has participated in since the coronavirus pandemic shut down college sports more than two months ago.
Wednesday, May 20
Ohio State game models show potential for 20,000-50,000 fans
Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said his athletic department has run several social distancing models to consider having fans in stands at games this fall. Ohio Stadium, with a normal capacity of more than 100,000, would hold closer to 20,000-22,000 fans butup to 40,000-50,000 “if guidelines are relaxed.” … “We’ve played with that a little bit as a framework to start as we move forward and think about what we’d ultimately be allowed to do,” Smith told reporters, before later clarifying the low-end estimate in a tweet.
Voluntary on-campus activities to resume in football, basketball starting June 1
The NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday toallow voluntary on-campus athletic activities to resume in football, and men’s and women’s basketball starting June 1, multiple sources confirmed to ESPN. After the coronavirus pandemic forced the shut down of sports across the country, the council banned all on-campus athletic activities. That moratorium was set to expire May 31.
Tuesday, May 19
Bowlsby: Big 12 needs to be ‘up and running’ by mid-July for football season to start on time
TheBig 12 conference doesn’t have a date yet for its sports to resume, but commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Tuesday the league needs to be “up and running” by mid-July if the college football season is going to start on time.
COVID-19 impact: How do schools test, recruit and stay afloat?
Heather Dinich speaks on the precautions being taken to prepare college football for its fall return.
100 days to college football? The biggest questions as the sport looks to return:The college football season is slated to begin in 100 days, highlighted by Notre Dame-Navy in Dublin, Ireland. Here’s the latest as the sport’s power brokers try to find a way to save the season.Read
No football would cost $4 billion, alter college sports:As more college athletic departments cut sports programs, the financial wreckage is becoming clear. And it gets even worse if college football doesn’t return.Read
College recruiting challenges during the coronavirus pandemic:With the state of college football and basketball in limbo, coaches and recruits across the country have had to find new ways to go about age-old practices during the spring.Read
Power 5 conferences: When will sports return?
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh discusses protocols the team is taking to protect its players and the possibility of playing football games without fans.
As states begin to initiate phases reopenings throughout the country, schools and athletic programs are also beginning to set new protocols for students and student-athletes. Right now, college football season is tentatively scheduled to start on Aug. 29; and while there is still no definitive timetable for college sports to return across the board, the May 31 moratorium that was imposed in March at the onset of the pandemic is soon expiring.
Here is a school-by-school breakdown of dates for stages of reopening in each Power 5 conference (*-denotes Notre Dame as independent):
The ACC announced it would leave it up to individual universities to determine when to start opening up campuses and athletic facilities. Here are the dates we know so far:
Virginia Tech :TBD.
While the Big Ten said it willleave plans up to individual schools, Illinois announced detailed plans for its athletes to return for voluntary activities beginning in mid-June. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told reporters earlier this week that its athletes would begin returning to campus June 8, pending university approval. Here are the latest dates:
Illinois:Mid-June (voluntary on-campus workouts).
Ohio State:June 8 (voluntary on-campus workouts).
The Big 12 announced Friday, May 22, thatfootball players will be allowed to return on June 15for voluntary on-campus workouts as part of a “phased return” to athletic activities. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott added on Friday that he believes college football will not only be back this fall but also that there will be “some level of fans” at the games.
Earlier this month, the 23-school California State University system announced it would primarily remain in a virtual learning model this fall,raising questions about the ability for member schools to field athletic teamsfor the rest of 2020. Here are the Pac-12 school breakdowns:
College Football Playoff: Will there be one?
CFP officials have stated they are moving forward with a plan to still have a Playoff as scheduled. Here is the latest news:
Schools that have cut pay, programs, staff
A day after the University of Cincinnati announced it would permanently cut its men’s soccer program, a letter from five conference commissioners to NCAA president Emmert asked, in part, forthe NCAA to lift rulesthat require Division I schools to sponsor at least 16 varsity sports.
Here are other programs that have disbanded, plus schools that have made staffing changes and pay cuts: