by Austin Nivison for Inside the Red Raiders
As it continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, the Big 12 now feels comfortable with the health and safety guidelines it has in place to announce dates when sports may resume voluntary in-person activities. Football will be allowed to start having voluntary workouts first, followed by a number of other sports.
While no required workouts will be permitted, the Big 12 has announced that football programs may begin voluntary workouts on June 15. After that, other fall sports may do the same thing on July 1. Basketball will be next, as those Big 12 programs can start voluntary in-person activities on July 6. The rest of the sports may conduct voluntary activities beginning on July 15.
Teams will still be allowed to hold mandatory virtual activities, but the conference is capping those at eight hours per week. Student-athletes will also be able to receiver the non-athletic assistance they need, including medical assistance, academic assistance, and mental health assistance.ADVERTISING
This is a step in the right direction in terms of getting football back in the fall, but there are still some obstacles that need to be overcome. Even then, college football still may not look like it normally does. In a recent interview on Sirius XM Radio, Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he believes there will be fans in the stands this fall. However, he did acknowledge that there are major challenges that need to be addressed before that happens.
“I think we’ll have fans in the stands,” Bowlsby told Sirius XM on Friday. “When you think about how difficult it is to do hospital-level disinfecting in a weight room or locker room or a training room, think about doing it for an entire stadium – the entry ways, the lines at the restrooms, the lines at the concessions stands, sitting that far apart in the stands. It’s a very large undertaking.”
In speaking with Horns247’s Chip Brown, Bowlsby also noted that sports will need to learn how to occur amidst outbreaks of COVID-19. There must be a plan in place so that positive tests on campus don’t lead to another entire shutdown of sports.
“There are going to be outbreaks on campus,” Bowlsby said. “The virus is going to be with us for the foreseeable future. All of our health officials and scientists are telling us that this next 18 to 24 months is going to be a bumpy road for public assembly and for the virus.”
There is still plenty to work out before games actually kick off in September, but the Big 12 allowing players back to campus for voluntary workouts is a source for some optimism for fans across the league.