Currently the collegiate athletics world is on hold due to a NCAA mandated suspension of athletic activities that is currently in place through May 31. However, there may be a shift in that policy.
The NCAA Council is reportedly meeting Wednesday and will vote on whether the moratorium will be extended past May 31, CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd reports. What this means, effectively, is that if the referendum to extend the deadline past May 31 fails, the moratorium will expire and the NCAA mandated prohibition of athletic activities will expire, allowing teams and conferences to resume athletic activities, most notably voluntary football workouts.
“Some of this stuff is starting to sound encouraging as long as we don’t have monstrous flare ups [of the coronavirus],” NCAA Council vice-chair Jon Steinbrecher said in the CBS Sports article.
It should be clear that this is merely a lifting of a prohibition, rather than the NCAA beseeching its member institutions to return to activities. The SEC and MAC are going to meet Friday to determine whether their member institutions will resume activities on June 1. The Big 12 reportedly met Monday to a no decision.
However, this appears to be a positive harbinger for a possible football season, on the heels of a number of institutions announcing intentions to open up in the fall for in-person classes. One of the biggest concerns for the resumption of a football season was the necessity of some time to ramp up conditioning for teams to be ready to go in late August/early September. If the moratorium is lifted, conferences and institutions will have the ability to open up for workouts, at least to a degree, and teams can move forward as planned.
The CBS Sports report also noted that the NCAA intends to rely upon a contact tracing program to combat the virus, and will rely upon a recent study from Germany that states that a sampling of 30 people could isolate a positive COVID-19 test.
To wit, it is unclear what the ACC will do with a resumption of activities. The ACC is currently under an indefinite suspension of all athletic activities dating back to March 12. There does not appear to be any movement from the conference outside of the formation of a COVID-19 medical advisory group (with BC Medical Director & Team Physician Dr. Robert Nascimento). There is also the problem of BC needing to observe local and state restrictions related to the virus.
However, the NCAA moratorium was a major speed bump in the road to a possible football season. If the NCAA lifts that moratorium, it will certainly be a step in the right direction for a football season.
In the end, as Steinbrecher noted, it will ultimately be up to local boards of health on how to proceed.