Just two days after the NCAA cleared the way for football and basketball players to return to campus next month, the same decision was made for all student-athletes.
On Friday, the NCAA announced all student-athletes were being permitted to resume voluntary activities beginning June 1. That announcement comes after the Division I council voted Wednesday to allow football and basketball players to begin voluntary activities on June 1.
“The return of voluntary activity in addition to the extension of the waiver to allow virtual, nonphysical activity shows sensitivity to local, state and regional differences in how Division I campuses are reopening,” Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania, said in a statement. “We will continue to be considerate of these differences with wise and flexible administration of our regulations, and we expect schools to keep the well-being of student-athletes as a priority.”
The NCAA also said that required, or countable, athletic activities would continue to be prohibited through June 30 for football and basketball players. That means that required in-person activities supervised by coaches are banned until at least July 1, which could signal a start date for official practices and workouts.
Major conferences like the SEC — which announced Friday that voluntary activities at its schools could resume June 8 — and the Pac-12 have already indicated they intend to start the football season on time, despite the fact many spring practices and off-season workout plans have been scrapped and not all schools have committed to on-site instruction for students.
According to an ESPN report on Friday, the Big Ten will not issue a blanket date when student-athletes can return to campus, instead leaving it up to the individual institutions while deferring to NCAA guidelines as well as campus and state regulations.
In Michigan, there will likely be some issue with the stay-at-home order that was extended on Friday by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to June 12.
Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said earlier this month, just after the conference banned all activities through June 1, that he is relying on the advice of medical experts and is having daily calls with conference athletic directors, and university chancellors and presidents, to determine the league’s path going forward.
“I’m looking to be in a position, I would say, in the next six to eight weeks to see if we have sports in the fall, but even bigger than sports in the fall, is that we’re collectively in the Big Ten focusing on what we need to do to have school in the fall, because if we don’t have school in the fall then we don’t have sports in the fall,” Warren said on CNBC. “What can we do to make sure we can return to our campuses in a safe manner where we can educate our students, and then what do we do to make sure we can return to practice in the fall in a safe manner?”
Warren said the Big Ten “will always make sure we put the health safety and wellness of our student-athletes at the epicenter,” as well as coaches, administrators and fans.
The NCAA also announced on Friday that the Council had decided to prohibit FBS teams from hosting football camps this summer and that FBS coaches would be prohibited from working at football camps hosted at any four-year NCAA school.