WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Jeff Brohm and his Purdue football coaches could very well be back on the practice field with their players as soon as the second week of July, according to an NCAA proposal set for approval this week.
Desperately wanting to start the college football season on time, college athletic leaders are set to take a giant leap down that path on Thursday, according to a report by Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger.
The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee is expected to approve the long-talked-about six-week preseason practice plan and recommend it to the NCAA D-I Council. The plan is in the last stages of finalization. A draft of the plan has been circulated to conference offices and athletic departments for feedback.
The D-I Council would approve the final version of the plan at its next meeting on June 17. Only small adjustments are expected over the next three days. “We’re 90% there,” Shane Lyons, the West Virginia athletic director and chair of the Oversight Committee, told Sports Illustrated in an interview Monday.
Under the plan, normal “required” summer workouts, which includes coaching interaction, could begin for some as early as July 6. Last month, the NCAA granted schools the ability beginning June 1 to hold on-campus voluntary workouts, which do not include coaching interaction. In required workouts, athletes can spend six hours a week with the strength staff on weight training and conditioning and spend two hours with coaches for film study.
The required workouts would lead into what’s being termed as “enhanced” summer training, a two-week stretch constituting the first portion of the proposed six-week preseason practice plan.
Purdue's players began returning to campus on Monday and the first wave are all being tested for COVID-19 before they can interact with other players, coaches or staff. Testing will be done in groups the next few days and no one will be allowed to participate in voluntary workouts until their test results have come back.
“Our athletic department has put together a very protective plan," Purdue president Mitch Daniels said last week. "There will be a lot of separation, at least initially between athletes. Lots of testing, very regular testing to try to spot any infection at the first possible moment and do all the smart things about that."
Purdue's season is supposed to start on Saturday, Sept. 5 at Nebraska.
Advancements in testing have administrators confident in frequent in-season testing, which in turn has them optimistic about playing a 2020 season. However, the issue of attendance remains uncertain.
Several athletic directors have announced potential plans to fill stadiums to 25% to 50% of capacity. Others are expecting full stadiums, which many doctors say is implausible. Meanwhile, another group is delaying concrete answers regarding attendance until as late as mid-August.
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