NCAA Division I Council Votes to Allow On-Campus Voluntary Workouts for All Athletes Beginning June 1

By Dan Hope on May 22, 2020 at 5:05 pm
Justin Fields

The door has officially reopened for Division I NCAA athletes to return to their schools' athletic facilities for workouts.

The NCAA's Division I Council voted this week to allow schools to reopen their athletic facilities on June 1, lifting a moratorium put in place through the end of May that prohibited Division I sports teams from hosting team activities at their athletic facilities.

On Wednesday, the Division I Council voted to allow football, men's basketball and women's basketball players to resume voluntary workouts at on-campus athletic facilities. On Friday, the council voted to extend that permission to athletes across all sports.

Schools are still expected to comply with all state and local regulations and prioritize student-athlete health and safety in making decisions on when to reopen their athletic facilities.

“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,” said Penn athletic director M. Grace Calhoun, chair of the Division I Council, on Wednesday. “Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”

Required workouts for football and basketball teams will remain prohibited until June 30. All voluntary workouts must be initiated by student-athletes and workout activity cannot be directed by coaches or reported back to coaches, though football strength and conditioning coaches will be allowed to be present due to sport-specific safety exceptions.

Teams will be allowed to continue to require up to eight hours of virtual nonphysical team activities per week through June 30. Per the NCAA's announcement on Friday, schools are also allowed “to provide football student-athletes with funds equal to what they would receive to cover meals, lodging and expenses (other than tuition/fees and books) through a summer athletics scholarship.”

The NCAA's dead period for recruiting remains in place through June 30. The Division I Council also announced Friday that Football Bowl Subdivision will not be allowed to host any football camps and clinics this summer, with FBS coaches also prohibited from working at any camps hosted by other NCAA schools this summer. Ohio State already made the decision on Wednesday to officially cancel all of its Buckeye Sports Camps this summer.

Ohio State – whose football coaches resumed working at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center in a limited capacity this week – is planning to reopen the WHAC to football players on June 8, athletic director Gene Smith confirmed Wednesday. Ohio State's athletic facilities will initially be open to only football players, with other fall sports being the next priority once allowed, in order to comply with physical distancing guidelines.

In a separate agenda item on Wednesday, the Division I Council announced “its intention to adopt by January a comprehensive legislative package creating uniform, modernized rules governing eligibility after transfer for student-athletes in all sports.” The current transfer rules will remain in place for 2020, which means undergraduate transfers in football, men's and women's basketball, baseball and men's hockey will still need to receive waivers in order to be immediately eligible to play in 2020-21.

The Division I Council also approved several waivers on Wednesday in response to the impact of COVID-19. Those waivers include waiving the minimum attendance requirement for Football Bowl Subdivision schools for two years, reducing the minimum financial aid requirement for schools to 75% of the FBS limit and no longer requiring FBS schools to play at least 60% of their games and five home games against FBS opponents.

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