Rice football decision-makers are currently evaluating a plan to return to campus. When that will be and what it will look like remain to be seen.
The future of college football is as uncertain now as its ever been, but a light has seemingly appeared on the horizon. The NCAA opened the door for college athletes to return to campus in June. That decision came after nearly a 3-month hiatus from all university athletic facilities. What that looks like, and when it will occur, vary from conference to conference and school to school.
The SEC opted for a uniform decision. League presidents voted to allow athletes to return to campus starting June 8 for voluntary workouts. Conference USA has left it up to each member institution. The Houston Cougars open their facilities across town for their student-athletes on June 1.
The ramifications of decisions of this kind rose to the forefront quickly. Three Marshall players tested positive for COVID-19 upon their return to campus. Outside of Conference USA, five Alabama players tested positive for the virus after interacting with roughly 50 players who had also returned to campus.
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On May 29, Rice Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard issued an update on the Owls’ decision-making process in that area:
Speaking of return to campus, the NCAA has approved student-athletes to return to their respective campuses on a voluntary basis beginning June 1. We have not yet set a date for our own return to campus and will work with Rice leadership to ensure we can bring back our staff and student-athletes as safely as possible. We remain on track to begin our fall sports seasons on time, but with a rapidly changing and fluid situation, we are also prepared to make calendar adjustments as necessary.
The Owls are going to be cautious about this. The positive test results from other schools add to the reason for concern.
“We have to make the best decisions that we can when we’re required to make them with the information we have on hand knowing that information could change tomorrow,” Karlgaard said following the release. He added that he feels “really good about where we are and our approach.”
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