College football now has an official timetable for the start of the season – whatever way, shape or form that takes.
The NCAA Division I Council officially approved Wednesday the long-expected ramp-up to the college season, accounting for the lack of spring practice among many schools because of COVID-19. Here's the breakdown on the three windows (based on a football opener of Saturday, Sept. 5):
- July 13-23: Eight hours per week of weight training, conditioning and film study.
- July 24-Aug. 6: Workouts can now include walkthroughs and team and individual meetings.
- Aug. 7: Regular preseason practice can begin.
"Given the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, we believe this model provides institutions and their student-athletes flexibility to prepare for the upcoming season," said West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, who helped shape the proposal as the head of the Division I Oversight Committee.
Not everyone was thrilled with the extended workout schedule.
In a recent media video conference, Texas coach Tom Herman said he would have wanted more after his team never got on the field in the spring.
"I was hoping - for a lot of us that were not able to participate in spring practice - that we would have the ability to have some sort of full-speed activity," Herman said. "Every proposal that I've seen thus far shows a lot of walkthroughs, a lot of meetings but no real 11-on-11, 7-on-7, full-speed activities.
"That was disappointing."
Despite all the meetings and planning by the NCAA, there's no guarantee things will line up nicely given what's happening with COVID-19 testing during voluntary workouts. More and more schools are navigating positive tests.
But what happens if the tests occur during a game week?
So even if he would have wanted more, Herman's displeasure has been measured.
Others are hoping for the best on positive tests and fans in the stands despite a recent spike in Texas COVID-19 cases.
"I expect it's going to be much more close to normal than people think in my opinion," Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher told Chancellor John Sharp during a video appearance on COVID-19: The Texas A&M University System Responds.
"I may be very optimistic and I'm hoping because I know what everybody in that stadium means to us but that's my thoughts."
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