LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Nearly 11 weeks after all University of Louisville athletics competition was suspended on March 17 due the COVID-19 pandemic, some Cardinal student-athletes will be returning to campus under a phased plan on May 27.
This announcement comes on the heels of the NCAA voting to lift a ban on football and basketball workouts.
UofL Athletics administrators and health officials have been planning a phased return to campus for weeks, with goals to:
- Provide a phased progression into athletic activity to promote mental and physical well-being;
- Provide a phased approach of opening and use of athletic facilities;
- Provide a safe environment that allows student athletes to transition into supervised activity to improve their strength and conditioning;
- Implement and adhere to operational guidelines to minimize the risk of virus transmission among student-athletes and staff; and
- Create an environment that generates a change in personal hygiene practices so that best practices are being used in individual life.
“We have worked very closely with our campus leadership, medical professionals and coaching staffs to prepare a comprehensive plan for a safe return to campus for our student-athletes to participate in voluntary activities,” said UofL Vice-President/Director of Athletics Vince Tyra. “The multi-phased plan avails a limited number of student-athletes to return at various dates and get back to routines they are accustomed to at this time of year.”
A limited group of student-athletes totaling about 30 in football, plus 15 in men’s and women’s basketball, would arrive on campus on May 27, with education on protocols to be employed prior to their arrival.
The group would begin testing and physical examinations on June 3 and be ready to participate in voluntary physical training, not directed by coaching staffs, on June 8.
Three UofL facilities, the Schnellenberger Football Complex, Trager Center, and Planet Fitness Kueber Center will be open with limited occupancy during the first phase.
An abundance of operational measures will be in place to minimize the risk and potential spread of the virus, including such items as wearing masks, use of designated entrances and exits, passing electronic daily symptom checks, physical distancing, using gloves and hand sanitizers when necessary, checking individual temperatures and extensive disinfecting of used areas.
If all proceeds well with Phase 1 and dependent upon NCAA rules, in the next phase an additional 30 football and 60 Olympic sport student-athletes would arrive on campus on June 10. The group would experience similar preparations before engaging in voluntary physical activity by June 22 within their respective venues. During this stage, additional athletics facilities would be opened with limited occupancy.
In the third phase of the plan, the remaining football student athletes would be back to campus on July 6, preparing to begin voluntary physical activity on July 18. Up to 60 additional student-athletes could be included as well in this phase should it be permitted by the NCAA with access to work out in the Marshall Center as appropriate.
By the fourth phase, in late July and August, all student-athletes would return to activities with full practices, scrimmages and competitions as allowed by NCAA or ACC guidelines. All athletic facilities would be open by this time.
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