Add Penn State to the burgeoning list of Power Five football programs returning.
Last month, the NCAA announced that it would allow schools to bring its student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1. The SEC subsequently confirmed its players would be permitted to start returning June 8. Ohio State, Indiana and Illinois from the Big Ten will be doing the same on the same date. And, as far as that goes, so are Clemson, Louisville and Pitt. Nebraska, meanwhile, started June 1.
Thursday, Penn State announced a phased return of student-athletes, including football players, that will commence June 8. The school stated that 75 football players will be returning on that date. Currently, there are 106 players listed on the program’s online roster.
Exactly which players will be returning in the initial phase is unclear.
While the players will start returning June 8, they won’t begin voluntary workouts until a week later. “Student-athletes have begun a prescribed quarantine in preparation for their return to campus and will be tested and quarantined upon their return,” the school stated. “Those student-athletes who are medically cleared may then participate in voluntary on-campus workouts beginning June 15.” Those workouts will be overseen by a combination of Nittany Lions strength staff and medical personnel.
“We are looking forward to the return of our student-athletes in the coming weeks and hope this is the first steps to a full return for the fall,” said PSU athletic director Sandy Barbour in a statement. “We are appreciative of President Barron for including ICA in this first wave of students coming back to campus.
“We are very confident in our plan and will continue to keep the health, safety and wellbeing of our students, coaches, staff and community as our top priority,” continued Barbour. “Our outstanding sports performance group worked with medical experts at both the University, conference and national level, as well as University leadership to develop an extensive return to campus plan for our student-athletes, staff and facilities.”
The school also unveiled the protocols that will be in place upon the players’ return.
- Education for all student-athletes, coach and staff on Penn State’s COVID safety protocols.
- Mandatory daily health screening questionnaire and temperature check for student-athletes, coaches and staff.
- Required use of personal protective equipment (PPE).
- Adherence to social distancing guidelines for meetings and workouts, including the use of smaller groups for performance enhancement session.
- Enhanced cleaning for all athletics facilities.
- Limited and monitored access to facilities.
Penn State is scheduled to open the 2020 football season at home against Kent State Sept. 5.