While the NCAA is yet to make an official announcement, the Division 1 Council has reportedly voted to allow voluntary activities for football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball programs.
Sources: The NCAA Division I Council voted to approve voluntary athletic activities in football, MBB and WBB to start June 1st and go through June 30th. There had been a moratorium on that through May 31st. Other sports will be acted on on a later date.— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) May 20, 2020
Team activities have been in a moratorium since March, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments were of course canceled, as was spring football. If voluntary workouts and activities do in fact resume on June 1, this is the first step toward normalcy in college athletics.
Of course, there are a lot of caveats at play here. First, the Council’s vote is only for the three aforementioned sports (football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball) while other sports will have to wait to hear the pan for further action.
The other thing is that specific conferences have their own rules in place. For example, the Big Ten currently has placed a moratorium on all athletics through June 1. This will likely be revisited by the conference in late May or early June, and we’ll find out if the Big Ten plans to follow the NCAA’s lead or not.
Of course the sinmost important factor here is at that this also heavily at the discretion of each state’s government. For the Michigan State Spartans, the state of Michigan remains under a stay-at-home order until at least May 28. That could very well be extended into June, as Michigan is still one of the hardest hit states by the coronavirus, which would mean MSU and the other schools in the state will still be unable to partake in in-person organized team activities (Update: Governor Whitmer has since extended the stay-at-home order through June 12.) And even if approved, Michigan State can make its own decision on whether or not it wants its student athletes returning to campus during these uncertain times or not. Safety is the first priority for everybody involved.
According to the the USA TODAY, the Council also “voted to temporarily waive several rules related to membership and scheduling requirements because of the pandemic.” This includes waiving minimum football game attendance requirements (for FBS schools), waiving the rule that FBS schools must play at least 60 percent of games against other FBS schools, waiving the minimum number of scholarships and more.
We will keep an eye on this situation as more information comes out.