JR Payne sets a target for athletes' return

Vinay Simlot

As the path for the resumption of sports becomes more clear, Colorado women’s basketball head coach JR Payne hopes to have her team back for workouts soon.

The target, Payne says, is mid-June to early July. 

Most of her players are training in their hometowns but she argues it may be safer for them to workout in Boulder.

“I would rather our players be in the Events Center than a 24-hour fitness,” Payne said in an interview earlier this week. “Just because we can control who goes in and out, we can control how well the building is sanitized, and things like that.”

On Thursday, the NCAA council voted to allow college basketball and football players to begin voluntary workouts as early as June 1, but the Pac-12 has yet to reach a decision on on-campus activities. 

The conference assembled a COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee, with over 50 disease and public health experts, physicians, researchers and trainers. The PAC-12 will use that committee to decide when schools will be able to resume on-campus activities.

Payne doesn’t want schools to wait for the rest of the conference to reopen and says different start dates would not impact competition.

“For these ladies, their lives for as long as they can probably remember, have revolved around sports," Payne said. "Basketball, and the weight room and all of that is a very big part of their happiness and their joy. So that for me is the main reason that I want them to be able to get back and training is more so that they can find their happy place again.”

Most fans probably agree, resuming sports would be their happy place. 

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