Lincoln Riley: Offseason Training Rules Are Not an 'Equal Playing Field'

John. E. Hoover

Whatever the rules are, Lincoln Riley just wants them to apply to everyone.

Right now, the Oklahoma football coach said, they do not.

Riley said Thursday morning on KREF radio in Norman that the Coronavirus shutdown has teams and conferences scrambling to make offseason training easier for players who are isolated.

Some leagues, he said, have it better than others.

“From a football standpoint, honestly, it’s a little bit all over the place,” Riley said. “The NCAA is supposed to, here in the next couple days, get us some regulations. Right now it’s been by conference, and honestly, it’s all over the place.”

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby is set to conduct a media teleconference on Thursday afternoon and should be able to offer a little clarity. But right now, Riley said on the T-Row in the Morning Show with Sooner voice Toby Rowland, the Big 12 is lagging behind.

“Our conference has been more stringent on it,” Riley said. “We’ve not been able to do virtual meetings. Our players have not been able to come in to our weight rooms, even on an individual basis. We haven’t been able to send them equipment, whereas a lot of other conferences, like the ACC right now, they’ve been able to do all those things. So that hasn’t been a positive in that it hasn’t really been an equal playing field.

“Now, you get it just because how much has changed in the short time, and I know the NCAA’s got a lot of stuff they’ve got to figure out, our conference commissioners and ADs. I know that’s something that they’re trying to work through and get done here quickly, because we’ve got to level the playing field, you know, what we can and can’t do during this time, and then we all need to abide by it.”

Riley claimed the ACC has allowed its coaches to send equipment to players to train with, including footballs.

“These guys train, you know, basically for a living, and a lot of these guys are at home and they don’t have a home gym in their home, and then their high schools, their local gyms, all those things are shut down,” Riley said. “And so a lot of our guys — not a lot, but I would say, you’re probably talking about 20-30 percent of our guys, at least — don’t have anything to train with.

“So, being proactive, we want to get things in our guys’ hands so they can train, and we haven’t been able to do that yet.

“Again, I know there’s a lot that has changed,” Riley said. “A lot of sports were canceled. There’s a lot going on. I know it’s a high priority for all the groups right now to figure out, what do our athletes need during this time, what should we be able to provide them, what can we do with them as far as virtual position meetings and all that.

“What can we do and what can’t we do? Very simply. And that’s something that they’re gonna figure out here pretty quickly and lay down a set a rules, and then we’ll go from there. But obviously, the sooner the better.”

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