The NCAA is getting ready to approve a plan that would create a step by step timetable for college football coaches get their teams ready for the 2020 season.
The plan would specify when coaches can move beyond voluntary strength and conditioning sessions which started on Monday of this week. Currently coaches are not allowed to have face-to-face meetings with their players and those players are allowed no other type of workouts on campus through the month of June. Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman did indicate last week that players could go off campus for activities beyond strength and conditioning but coaches could not participate or watch.
Under the new guidelines coaches with seasons starting Labor Day weekend (like Arkansas) can begin working directly with their players on July 13. Teams that open their seasons a week earlier can start working with their players July 6.
The guidelines will also allow coaches and players to begin practicing with a football two weeks before the start of August Camp, a clear acknowledgment of the loss of spring football. Under current NCAA rules coaches are only allowed limited contact with players in the month of July with no football involved. August camp for Arkansas will begin on August 7, 29 days before the season opener against Nevada.
There is currently no set standard for testing players during the strength and conditioning period now underway. Arkansas has decided not to test all athletes. Instead they were given physical exams before returning to campus. One unidentified Razorback athlete tested positive for COVID-19 before arriving on campus. Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek has indicated that the athlete is doing fine and is currently under quarantine at an off campus location.
According to Brandon Marcello a national football writer for 247Sports, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is hopeful that the power five conferences will come up with a standard testing procedure for in-season use since many teams will cross state lines in order to play non-conference games.
The NCAA’s Division I Council is set to vote on the guidelines on June 17.
Pittman made no mention of the proposed new guidelines in an appearance Monday afternoon on the Paul Finebaum Show on the SEC Network. However, as far back as late March Pittman indicated that he was hopeful the NCAA would eventually provide some relief from existing summer workout rules in light of the loss of spring football. He said coaches installing new offenses and defenses would need some type of on-the-field practices before August to get their players more familiar with the changes.