Big 12 approves plan for student-athletes to return to campus

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Voluntary workouts can resume on June 15.

Two days after the NCAA cleared the way for individual conferences to allow student-athletes back on campus to resume voluntary workouts, the Big 12 announced on Friday that the Texas Longhorns and other conference schools can allow student-athletes to return on June 15.

The decision only applies to football players immediately, who will be able to access workout facilities and support personnel for voluntary workouts. Volleyball, soccer, and cross-country athletes can return on July 1, with all other student-athletes, most notably football, baseball, and softball, can begin voluntary workouts on July 15.

“This phased approach is intended to permit gradual adoption of best practices for mitigation of COVID-19 as well as ensuring a safe environment and appropriately prepared facilities,” the Big 12 said in a statement. “Until these dates, the conference’s activities policy that was scheduled to sunset May 31 remains in effect for all Big 12 student-athletes.”

Texas head coach Tom Herman estimates that half of the football players are currently in Austin and that access to Longhorns weight facilities is safer than going to other gyms in the state that reopened several days ago.

“I feel like if our guys are here in the state of Texas and they’re tired of lifting the Home Depot buckets filled with concrete and working out with resistance bands, they’re going to naturally find a weight room to go to, and why not let it be ours?

“We’ve got probably a much better plan, I would think, to sanitize things,” Herman told Football Scoop.

In recent weeks, the school has started developing protocols for the return of student-athletes, with the Longhorns coaching staff’s return to campus on Monday serving as something of a pilot program.

“We’ve already planned, June 1, if they allow us to do it, we’ll split the weight room in half, kind of have a Weight Room A, Weight Room B,” Herman said. “When guys are working out in Weight Room A we can sanitize Weight Room B and vice versa. We’ll have 8-10 lift groups of eight kids or more. That just makes sense to me, right? They’re going to find a weight room to work out in if they’re in a state that public weight room and workout facilities are opening, so why not let it be ours, under our supervision with our resources dedicated to the sanitization of said equipment and space.”

Source: Burnt Orange Nation