Louisville has just provided the college football world a much-needed first.
The NCAA announced Wednesday that schools can begin bringing some student-athletes, including football players, back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1. A day later, Louisville announced that, beginning May 27, the university will launch a phased return of football players to the campus. Men’s and women’s basketball players will start returning on that date as well.
Louisville won’t, though, allow football players to return en masse.
From the school’s release:
Under the first phase, a limited group of student-athletes totaling about 30 in football, plus 15 in men’s and women’s basketball, would arrive on campus on May 27, with education on protocols to be employed prior to their arrival. The group would begin testing and physical examinations on June 3 and be ready to participate in voluntary physical training, not directed by coaching staffs, on June 8. Three UofL facilities — the Schnellenberger Football Complex, Trager Center, and Planet Fitness Kueber Center — would be open with limited occupancy during the first phase.
If all proceeds well with Phase 1 and dependent upon NCAA rules, in the next phase an additional 30 football and 60 Olympic sport student-athletes would arrive on campus on June 10. The group would experience similar preparations before engaging in voluntary physical activity by June 22 within their respective venues.
In the third phase of the plan, the remaining football student-athletes would be back to campus on July 6, preparing to begin voluntary physical activity on July 18.
If all goes well in the first three phases, the fourth phase would consist of Louisville football players returning “to activities with full practices, scrimmages and competitions as allowed by NCAA or ACC guidelines.”
Exactly who will be a part of the initial group of 30 players and how they will be selected wasn’t divulged. The UofL also emphasized that all of the workouts are voluntary and not required participation.
“We have worked very closely with our campus leadership, medical professionals and coaching staffs to prepare a comprehensive plan for a safe return to campus for our student-athletes to participate in voluntary activities,” athletic director Vince Tyra said in a statement. “The multi-phased plan avails a limited number of student-athletes to return at various dates and get back to routines they are accustomed to at this time of year.”