Michigan to discuss allowing athletes on campus, with testing

Monday, June 1, 2020 - 5:38pm

Michigan's athletes could soon be back on campus.

Michigan's athletes could soon be back on campus. Buy this photo
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Michigan could soon let its athletes back on campus.

After Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) lifted the state’s stay-at-home order on Monday allowing for gatherings of up to 100 in outdoor settings so long as social distancing can be maintained, the University announced it would move toward letting student-athletes come back to work out.

“Based on today’s announcement, we are holding discussions with university leadership on the appropriate date to begin allowing student-athletes to safely return for testing followed by voluntary workouts,” the school said in a statement.

Gyms are to remain closed under the statewide order, but it’s unclear as of yet whether that applies to indoor facilities at Schembechler Hall and William Davidson Player Development Center, according to a University spokesperson.

The list of things Michigan doesn’t yet know about the return is far longer than what it does. A date is still unclear, though 247Sports reported June 15 as a target. The frequency of testing is unclear, as is whether or not it will be mandatory for those around the program. The governor’s order implies that social distancing would be needed in any gathering, which calls into question exactly how a football practices would operate.

Still, it’s a step forward.

Since the pandemic halted all NCAA athletics on March 12, athletes have been working out at home and teams have been holding meetings over Zoom. This clears the way for a restart, though it’s still unclear what fall seasons will look like, if there are fall seasons at all.

“We’ve got a good group of coaches and analysts and we’re just anxious, chomping to get back into the building and get back some form of normalcy,” defensive coordinator Don Brown said on a recent Zoom call with reporters. “Cause I love my seat in that room (at Schembechler) when I got the two screens. I just feel like I’m in my element there. Sitting in my spare bedroom in Cape Cod just doesn’t cut it.”

A recruiting dead period throughout college sports remains in effect through July 31, and Nike announced that all EYBL events will be canceled this week.