Two important decisions were handed down by the NCAA this week. New return to play rules could play an important role in the return of college football.
The NCAA had been under the microscope in recent weeks, for good reason. The organization played an integral part in the new normal exacted upon the nation by COVID-19 and the resulting limitations. New recruiting rules and restrictions combined with several other pressing matters came to a head in a meaningful Wednesday vote.
Return to Play
The NCAA Division I Council voted to allow voluntary athletic activities in football, men's basketball and women's basketball starting on June 1, @TheAthleticCFB has learned. The waiver allowing 8 hours of virtual activities per week will continue through June 30, too.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) May 20, 2020
The first, and most pressing resolution, was the decision to allow athletic activities to resume beginning June 1. The sport most impacted this is football, namely summer conditioning workouts which traditionally begin sometime in June during most years.
The NCAA’s decision to allow in-person events to resume allows for what could be a decidedly uneven playing field. Some states and schools have strict guidelines to adhere to already. The NCAA cannot override those edicts.
Now individual schools and conferences are caught in between a rock and a hard place. Resuming activities will give their players the optimal time needed to get back into football shape, but it also comes with an uncertain cost to safety. On the other hand, for every day or week reopening is delayed these teams could fall significantly behind their peers.
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What happens if Rice gets the all-clear to return to practice one month before Army? Two months? Or what if the American conference issues separate guidance the delays return but Conference USA allows individual schools to choose. Rice and Houston, who are currently scheduled to open the 2020 season against each other, could return to practice at different times even though their campuses are five miles apart.
How this plays out in reality remains to be seen, but the ramifications of this decision, whether right or wrong, could impact whatever season happens this academic year.
No one-time transfer waivers, yet
One-time transfer waivers are dead until at least 2021-22 academic year, sources told @Stadium, as NCAA Division I Council approved a resolution to develop legislation regarding transfer eligibility for January 2021 that would not be effective until 2021-22 academic year
— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) May 20, 2020
The concept of a one-time transfer waiver has been gaining steam over the last several months. Under the proposition, individual student athletes would not have to sit out if transferring to another school for the first time. Immediate eligibility is the norm for several sports, but football and basketball are among the holdouts.
That decision has been tabled until next year.