<
>

The coronavirus and college sports: NCAA reopening plans, latest news, program cuts, more

play
Why there's 'cautious optimism' ahead of the 2020 college football season (1:55)

Heather Dinich, Adam Rittenberg and Chris Low break down how the 2020 college football season could proceed amid coronavirus concerns. (1:55)

The coronavirus pandemic continues to rattle the college sports landscape, leaving many questions unanswered.

But before a new normal can begin to take shape, colleges and universities will have to find a safe way to reopen campuses. Complex, high-stakes public health issues need to be dealt with before there is a good sense of what college sports will look like.

Here is the latest news and updates from the college sports world.

Jump to: Latest news | What will football look like? | When will schools reopen? | What about the CFP? | Program, financial cuts

Latest news: NCAA offers plan to bring athletes back to campus

Friday, May 29:

The NCAA released a long and detailed plan Friday to help schools bring athletes back to campus during a pandemic.

The Resocialization of Collegiate Sports: Action Plan Considerations was announced as schools across the country prepare for the return of football players as early as June 8.

Thursday, May 28:

Iowa and other universities are still hoping to play football at full stadiums this fall. Athletic director Gary Barta said Thursday that Iowa is planning to have nonrestricted crowds at Kinnick Stadium, where last fall it averaged 65,557 for games, 20th in the FBS. Iowa also is modeling for reduced-capacity crowds, depending on guidelines from the state, the CDC and other agencies relating to the coronavirus pandemic.

Georgia update: As he prepares to welcome his players back to campus, Georgia's coach Kirby Smart insisted Thursday that they'll be safer working out under the school's supervision than on their own. Smart also called on fans to comply with guidelines for dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, warning that a spike in cases could ruin any hopes of playing football in the fall.

Georgia Tech update: Georgia Tech will begin the first phase of a plan to reopen its athletic facilities on June 15. The plan is based on guidance from the school administration, the University System of Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp's office and public health officials. Under the initial reopening phase, athletes who live in the Atlanta area will be able to use campus weight rooms and athletic training facilities on a voluntary basis.

Wednesday, May 27:

The Division I Council Coordination Committee once again extended the recruiting dead period in all sports through July 31. The committee had previously extended the dead period, which was instituted due to the coronavirus pandemic, to June 30, but has now further extended it through the end of July.

Tuesday, May 26:

Clemson update: Clemson will allow football and men's and women's basketball players to resume on-campus voluntary workouts June 8, the school announced Tuesday.

Players can return to the Clemson area as early as June 1 while adhering to social and physical distancing guidelines -- one week before their return to the area, and one week in the Clemson area.

All players must undergo a physical, including both COVID-19 and antibody tests, before being cleared for workouts. They also must complete a daily screening before entering the facilities.

Oklahoma update: Oklahoma is taking a cautious approach on letting football players back on campus, announcing Tuesday that it will reopen facilities for voluntary workouts on July 1 -- a month after the NCAA is allowing the resumption of on-campus activities.

play
1:20

Should college athletes be putting themselves at risk during the pandemic?

Dan Orlovsky explains what he would want to know as a parent or player in regard to safety protocols for college athletes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pac-12 update: The Pac-12 will allow voluntary, in-person workouts for all sports to begin on June 15, as long as the local governments and universities allow the student-athletes to return to campus, the conference announced on Tuesday.

Iowa State: Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard told Cyclones fans that football home games will be played at no more than 50% capacity at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames, Iowa, pending a change in state and local health guidelines. That means no more than 30,000 fans.

Friday, May 22

The SEC announced that athletes can begin using facilities on campus for voluntary workouts June 8 under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each university. Presidents and chancellors from the SEC's 14 universities made the final call after extensive conversations within the league involving commissioner Greg Sankey, athletic directors and medical officials.

Big Ten leaving decisions up to individual schools: The Big Ten is not expected to make a leaguewide announcement on athletes returning to campus, leaving the decision to individual schools, league sources told ESPN on Friday. The conference will defer to NCAA rulings and guidelines with each campus, state and local area.

Power 5 baseball coaches propose later season: A group of coaches, led by Michigan's Erik Bakich, is proposing a later start to the collegiate baseball season to save on expenses, help the fans enjoy the game and reduce injury. The proposition would move the start of the season to March, which would push back the College World Series to late July.

NCAA moves to allow student athletes back on June 1: The announcement on Friday states that players from all sports will be allowed to participate in voluntary athletic activities on campus starting on June 1.

Texas governor believes football, "with fans," will start on time: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that he thinks football will return this fall with "some level" of fans. The University of Texas had previously stated its intent to open campus for the fall semester, which is set to begin Aug. 26. The Longhorns' first game of the season, a home contest against South Florida, is slated for Sept. 5.

play
0:38

Nick Saban scolds Alabama mascot for lack of mask in PSA

Alabama's Nick Saban participates in a public service announcement with mascot Big Al to encourage mask wearing and social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Wednesday, May 20

Ohio State game models show potential for 20,000-50,000 fans

Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said his athletic department has run several social distancing models to consider having fans in stands at games this fall. Ohio Stadium, with a normal capacity of more than 100,000, would hold closer to 20,000-22,000 fans but up to 40,000-50,000 "if guidelines are relaxed." ... "We've played with that a little bit as a framework to start as we move forward and think about what we'd ultimately be allowed to do," Smith told reporters, before later clarifying the low-end estimate in a tweet.

Voluntary on-campus activities to resume in football, basketball starting June 1

The NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to allow voluntary on-campus athletic activities to resume in football and men's and women's basketball starting June 1, multiple sources confirmed to ESPN. After the coronavirus pandemic forced the shutdown of sports across the country, the council banned all on-campus athletic activities. That moratorium was set to expire May 31.

Tuesday, May 19

Bowlsby: Big 12 needs to be "up and running" by mid-July for football season to start on time

The Big 12 conference doesn't have a date yet for its sports to resume, but commissioner Bob Bowlsby said Tuesday the league needs to be "up and running" by mid-July if the college football season is going to start on time.

COVID-19 impact: How do schools test, recruit and stay afloat?

play
1:47

What is the biggest issue facing college football's return in 100 days?

Heather Dinich speaks on the precautions being taken to prepare college football for its fall return.

100 days to college football? The biggest questions as the sport looks to return: The college football season is slated to begin in 100 days, highlighted by Notre Dame-Navy in Dublin, Ireland. Here's the latest as the sport's power brokers try to find a way to save the season. Read

No football would cost $4 billion, alter college sports: As more college athletic departments cut sports programs, the financial wreckage is becoming clear. And it gets even worse if college football doesn't return. Read

College recruiting challenges during the coronavirus pandemic: With the state of college football and basketball in limbo, coaches and recruits across the country have had to find new ways to go about age-old practices during the spring. Read

Power 5 conferences: When will sports return?

play
2:10

Harbaugh would rather play with no fans than not play at all

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh discusses protocols the team is taking to protect its players and the possibility of playing football games without fans.

As states begin to initiate phased reopening, schools and athletic programs are also beginning to set new protocols for students and student-athletes. Right now, the college football season is tentatively scheduled to start on Aug. 29; and while there is still no definitive timetable for college sports to return across the board, the May 31 moratorium that was imposed in March at the onset of the pandemic is soon expiring.

Here is a school-by-school breakdown of dates for stages of reopening in each Power 5 conference (*-denotes Notre Dame as independent):

ACC

The ACC announced it would leave it up to individual universities to determine when to start opening up campuses and athletic facilities. Here are the dates we know so far:

Boston College: TBD.
Clemson: June 8 (voluntary workouts)
Duke: TBD.
Florida State: TBD.
Georgia Tech: June 15 (voluntary workouts)
Louisville: June 8
Miami: TBD.
North Carolina: TBD.
NC State: TBD.
Pittsburgh: TBD.
Syracuse: TBD.
Virginia: TBD.
Virginia Tech : TBD.
Wake Forest: TBD.
*-Notre Dame: TBD.

Big Ten

While the Big Ten said it will leave plans up to individual schools, Illinois announced detailed plans for its athletes to return for voluntary activities beginning in mid-June. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith told reporters earlier this week that its athletes would begin returning to campus June 8, pending university approval. Here are the latest dates:

Illinois: Mid-June (voluntary on-campus workouts).
Indiana: TBD.
Iowa: TBD.
Maryland: TBD.
Michigan: TBD.
Michigan State: TBD.
Minnesota: TBD.
Nebraska: TBD.
Northwestern: TBD.
Ohio State: June 8 (voluntary on-campus workouts).
Penn State: TBD.
Purdue: TBD.
Rutgers: TBD.
Wisconsin: TBD.

Big 12

The Big 12 announced Friday, May 22, that football players will be allowed to return on June 15 for voluntary on-campus workouts as part of a "phased return" to athletic activities. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott added on Friday that he believes college football will not only be back this fall but also that there will be "some level of fans" at the games.

Baylor: TBD.
Iowa State: TBD.
Kansas: TBD.
Kansas State: TBD.
Oklahoma: July 1 (voluntary workouts)
Oklahoma State: TBD.
TCU: TBD.
Texas: TBD.
Texas Tech: TBD.
West Virginia: TBD.

Pac-12

The conference announced on May 26 it will allow voluntary, in-person workouts for all sports to begin on June 15, as long as the local governments and universities allow the student-athletes to return to campus. Earlier this month, the 23-school California State University system announced it would remain in a primarily virtual learning model this fall, raising questions about the ability for member schools to field athletic teams for the rest of 2020. Here are dates for the Pac-12, whose California members are not part of the CSU system:

Arizona: TBD.
Arizona State: TBD.
California: TBD.
UCLA: TBD.
Colorado: TBD.
Oregon: TBD.
Oregon State: TBD.
USC: TBD.
Stanford: TBD.
Utah: TBD.
Washington: TBD.
Washington State: TBD.

SEC

Alabama: TBD.
Arkansas: TBD.
Auburn: TBD.
Florida: TBD.
Georgia: TBD.
Kentucky: TBD.
LSU: TBD.
Ole Miss: TBD.
Mississippi State: TBD.
Missouri: TBD.
South Carolina: TBD.
Tennessee: TBD.
Texas A&M: TBD.
Vanderbilt: TBD.

College Football Playoff: Will there be one?

CFP officials have said they are moving forward with a plan to still have a playoff as scheduled. Here is the latest news:

Schools that have cut pay, programs, staff

A day after the University of Cincinnati announced it would permanently cut its men's soccer program, a letter from five conference commissioners to NCAA president Emmert asked, in part, for the NCAA to lift rules that require Division I schools to sponsor at least 16 varsity sports.

Here are other programs that have disbanded, plus schools that have made staffing changes and pay cuts: