NCAA votes to lift moratorium on campus workouts

The NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday voted to allow the resumption of voluntary on-campus workouts for football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball student-athletes beginning June 1.

The NCAA had placed a moratorium on workouts through May 31 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The council chairperson, Penn athletic director M. Grace Calhoun, said in a statement, “We encourage each school to use its discretion to make the best decisions possible for football and basketball student-athletes within the appropriate resocialization framework. Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”

According to USA Today, the council also enacted several policy changes to deal with scenarios caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Football Bowl Subdivision teams won’t be subject to minimum attendance requirements for the next two years. Normally, FBS teams are required to average 15,000-plus “actual or paid” fans for home games, but at the moment, it is unclear if fans will be allowed to attend games this year, and if they are, how many will be accepted.

The rule requiring FBS teams to play 60 percent of their games against FBS opposition or play five home games against FBS teams won’t be enforced in 2020. Teams’ seasons might wind up being shortened due to the pandemic, which could make reaching the floors for that bylaw difficult.

Division I schools will be allowed to play more games close to home with the NCAA relaxing the rules requiring certain percentages of games to be against Division I opposition. The change applies to multiple sports, including soccer and women’s volleyball, per USA Today.

The Wednesday move regarding workouts is expected to spur action at the conference level.

Southeastern Conference athletic directors are set to meet with health experts Thursday to make recommendations to university presidents and chancellors, who are then expected to render a decision Friday about whether to allow on-campus workouts or extend the moratorium, ESPN reported.

Other conferences are slated to follow suit with similar meetings.