On Monday, Georgia Tech began Phase I of athletics returning to campus. In Phase I, student-athletes local to the Atlanta area are permitted to participate in voluntary activities, such as weight rooms and training areas. Prior to returning, all student-athletes will be tested for COVID-19.
For the Yellow Jackets' men's basketball team, strength coach Dan Taylor and trainer Richard Stewart are allowed to supervise activities. Basketball head coach Josh Pastner is hopeful the NCAA will approve coaches to work with student-athletes as early as July.
"Every Wednesday we've had an ACC head coaches call, we've all said we're hoping the NCAA in July allows the coaches to work with the players because our feeling is, why have the guys back if the guys can't be able to work with the coaches in the gym?" said Pastner. "Leave it up to each school to determine that each mechanism is with health, safety and wellness."
According to Pastner, there will be a vote this week among the NCAA committee to determine if basketball coaches will be able to work with their players in July or if things will be on pause until the the start of the academic school year.
"What I can tell you from all of the ACC head coaches, we have pushed that we need to get back to the committee members, we need to be able to work with our student-athletes in July," said Pastner. "Otherwise, if it's going to be all voluntary based, why bring them back?
"In return, the student-athletes want to get on the floor with the coaches. It's a two-way street."
Pastner stated the vote will contain a two-part phase. If passed, small groups will be held in July followed by full team workouts beginning in August. There's also the possibility to allow practices to last up to twelve hours versus the normal eight.
With half of Tech's basketball team containing juniors and seniors, Pastner said age is on their side to get back into the groove of things.
"If there's ever a time to have a team that's older, this is the year to have it," said Pastner. "We are obviously a more experienced team.
"Based on us being an older team, that is a benefit towards us because we'll have more experience of guys being able to play and whenever we're allowed to get back at it, we'll just get back at it. If it's not going to happen in July, the assumption is that'll we able to start going when school starts... there's nothing like being in person and actually having a practice, or a workout, and then leading by example."
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