The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect college athletics. On Thursday night, the NCAA announced that the deadline for recruiting lasted until August 31.
“The Division I Council extended the deadline for recruitment in all sports until August 31,” the organization said in a statement. “The Council met practically on Thursday afternoon.
“The full Board and the Board Coordination Committee will continue to review deadlines for recruitment on a regular basis. A dead period prevents all recruitment in person. Telephone calls and correspondence can continue to occur.
In addition, the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees indicated that they do not plan to recommend any changes to the summer access model that was adopted last week, which allows institutions to begin summer activities related to athletics in basketball to Beginning July 20, and may include up to eight hours per week of weight training, conditioning, and skills instruction, with no more than four hours of skills instruction.
“Council members also granted an exemption to modify the start date of pre-season practice in sports other than soccer. Fall preseason generally begins a specified number of days before the first scheduled regular season contest. The waiver allows teams to count from the first day contests are allowed, instead of the team’s first actual scheduled contest.
“The waiver allows some flexibility for additional acclimatization for fall student athletes who missed opportunities to participate in the spring and explains the schedule changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
As student-athletes return to campus and COVID-19 testing increases, an increase in positive cases has raised questions in the public sphere about the fate of the 2020 college football season. However, conference commissioners, The administrators and decision makers surveyed by 247Sports remain consistent in their belief, both public and private, that a fall season is still in the cards.
Many administrators are not actively entertaining a delay in the season, multiple sources at two Power 5 conference offices said.
“I remain cautiously optimistic that college football will be played this fall, and that we will be able to do it in a way that prioritizes the health and safety of our student-athletes and all those related to sports,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said in a statement. A statement provided to 247Sports: “We have world-class infectious disease and public health experts to ensure that we can do everything possible to control what is under our control in the safest way possible.”
However, the warnings are not brief, as cases continue to rise in most states. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading infectious disease expert, questioned whether soccer will be played this fall during an interview with CNN last week. “Unless the players are essentially in a bubble, cut off from the community and being evaluated almost every day, it would be very difficult to see how football can be played this fall,” Fauci said at the time. Fauci, however, admitted this week that it is not up to him to make such decisions. Meanwhile, Major League Baseball announced Tuesday that a shorter season will begin in late July.
The increase in infections in the population (the number compared to a week ago has increased in 26 states) has also spread to the world of sports, just as college football players returned to campus for voluntary training during last three weeks. An outbreak of 23 infected players at Clemson made headlines last week and nearly 30 players on the LSU roster were quarantined, according to reports. Three programs (Boise State, Houston and Kansas State) have paused volunteer training amid outbreaks among their student-athlete population. The majority of cases among university soccer players are asymptomatic.
Nearly 200 players across the country have contracted the virus, according to figures compiled by 247Sports, but most FBS schools have chosen not to disclose data publicly. Like the general population, schools are still trying to understand the virus and how to better protect themselves from infection and spread.
247Sports National Analyst Brandon Marcello contributed to this report.