Rice Football has a plan to return to campus and the athletic department has announced its plan to reengage amid COVID-19 concerns.
Rice football, soccer, volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country teams have a plan to return to campus. The Roost has confirmed those athletes will be tested as part of pre-participation COVID-19 screening on Thursday, June 11. Voluntary workouts are scheduled to begin on June 17.
As far as the logistics go, student-athletes will be organized into sport-specific workout groups. Those groups will be assigned times for conditioning work and medical treatments. Everyone entering the facilities will be required to wear a face covering expect for during the scheduled workouts. Sports medicine staff will wear masks as well as all strength and conditioning staff members.
Athletic Director Joe Karlgaard detailed the process in a statement:
“We are excited to welcome our local, fall sport student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts. Our staff has worked very thoughtfully on a plan that promotes safety and allows for mitigation in the event of any positive occurrences of the virus. We hope June 17 marks the beginning of our transition to having all of our student-athletes successfully return for fall semester.”
For the time being, the Owls’ first game is still scheduled to kick off on Thursday, September 3 against Houston. As of Tuesday, the Cougars do not plan to test their athletes unless they exhibit symptoms of the virus.
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When addressing that subject earlier in the summer, Karlgaard noted the decision to plan for the upcoming football season was intentional. “We have to proceed as if we’re going to have those seasons because you can’t do the reverse,” he said, citing the immense challenges that would arise should teams seek to organize a game that had been canceled on short notice.
Establishing a return to campus plan had to come first. Rice football has achieved that milestone. The rest will follow in the coming weeks and months. Stay tuned as the situation develops. Further details are available here.