Things are trending in the right direction for the return of college athletics.
The NCAA decided today that Division I football and basketball student-athletes can participate in on-campus voluntary athletics activities beginning June 1. In its release the NCAA said that the status of other sports would be decided soon.
The organization also issued several waivers to provide relief from several Division I participation requirements.
The full release by the NCAA follows.
Division I football and basketball student-athletes can participate in on-campus voluntary athletics activities beginning June 1, the Division I Council decided in a virtual meeting Wednesday, as long as all local, state and federal regulations are followed.
Additionally, Council members extended the blanket waiver allowing teams in those sports to require eight hours per week of virtual nonphysical activities through the end of June, recognizing that some student-athletes won’t be able return to campus or will not be comfortable doing so.
The status of voluntary athletics activities in all other sports and summer access activities in football and men’s and women’s basketball will be determined via electronic vote.
The Council members emphasized the importance of protecting student-athlete health and safety as schools make decisions about opening facilities for voluntary activities. The Council members also stated that access to facilities should be provided in compliance with applicable state and local regulations regarding the use of such facilities, group size restrictions and any other limits.
“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 Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, athletics director at Pennsylvania. “Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”
Voluntary on-campus athletics activity must be initiated by the student-athlete. Coaches may not be present unless a sport-specific safety exception allows it, and activity cannot be directed by a coach or reported back to a coach.
The Council remains committed to providing appropriate flexibility to support students, schools and conferences during these challenging times, noting that in some instances the appropriate avenue for relief should be addressed on a case-by-case basis rather than through a blanket waiver. To that end, the group approved the following:
- Waiving the minimum football attendance requirement for Football Bowl Subdivision members for two years.
- In sports other than football, basketball, cross country, men’s swimming and diving, indoor and outdoor track and field, and wrestling, teams will not be required to play 50% of contests above the required minimum number of contests against Division I opponents. Those sports are still required to play 100 percent of the minimum number of contests against Division I opponents.
- Football Championship Subdivision teams will not be required to play at least 50% of football games against FBS or FCS opponents.
- Financial aid minimums for FBS schools were waived to permit an institution to award at least 75% of the maximum FBS financial aid limit for three years. In addition, institutions will be permitted to award a minimum of 150 athletics grants-in-aid or expend a minimum of $3 million on grants-in-aid to student-athletes for a period of three years. Gender equity requirements and rules governing nonrenewal/cancellation of aid remain in effect.
- FBS schools will not be required to play 60% of their games against FBS members or play five home games against FBS opponents.
Additional waivers will be considered over the next few months.
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