With other schools, including Ohio State and Michigan recently announcing their own return dates for football players, many in Nittany Nation began to grow antsy at the lack of a formal announcement from Penn State and worried about falling behind their Big Ten peers in preparation for the upcoming season.
Well, worry no more, as the Athletic Department announced last night that a phased return of athletes would begin on Monday, June 8th with 75 football players coming back to campus. The timeline for the phased return of the remaining football players and other PSU athletes will be announced at a later date.
CDC and state/local government guidelines, along with the NCAA and Big Ten’s tracking and implementation recommendations will be followed to help reduce the likelihood of a COVID-19 outbreak amongst the team. Such protocols include:
- Each athlete, staff member, and coach filling out a daily health questionnaire and receiving a temperature check upon entering a facility.
- Required use of masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE)
- Strict adherence to social distancing guidelines during meetings and workouts (expect to see smaller workout groups than usual)
- Limited and monitored access to all facilities
- Enhanced cleaning for all facilities
While it is certainly welcome and encouraging news that some sense of normalcy will be returning to campus shortly, it is also something that will be closely watched. Already, there have been reports at other programs such as Oklahoma State and Alabama of players testing positive for COVID-19 (albeit asymptomatic).
Surely, PSU has worked out quarantine plans/procedures for any football player or other athlete that tests positive, but it will remain to be seen whether these cases are contained. In the meantime, all we can do is hope for the best and that means the entire team eventually returns and they are able to play a football season in 2020.