The Florida State Seminoles football team is becoming the latest to return to campus and begin voluntary workouts, beginning on Monday, June 1, Tomahawk Nation has learned and confirmed. Men’s and women’s basketball athletes are also allowed to begin voluntary workouts, though Tomahawk has not confirmed that either team will start the same day.
What exactly is a “voluntary workout?” From the NCAA’s official rulebook:
To be considered a “voluntary” activity, all the following conditions must be met: · The student-athlete must not be required to report back to a coach or other athletics department staff member (e.g., strength coach, trainer, manager) any information related to the activity. In addition, noncoaching athletics department staff members who observe the activity (e.g., strength coach, trainer, manager) may not report back to the student-athlete’s coach any information related to the activity. [Note: Coaches may not observe voluntary activities.] · The activity must be initiated and requested solely by the student-athlete. Neither the institution nor any athletics department staff member may require the student-athlete to participate in the activity at any time. · The student-athlete’s attendance and participation in the activity (or lack thereof) may not be recorded for the purpose of reporting such information to coaching staff members or to other student-athletes; and · The student-athlete may not be subjected to penalty if he or she elects not to participate in the activity. In addition, neither the institution nor any athletics department staff member may provide recognition or incentives (e.g., awards) to a student-athlete based on his or her attendance or performance in the activity.
Florida State’s decision falls in line with several other ACC schools — including Pittsburgh and Georgia Tech — as well as the University of Central Florida. The NCAA’s suggestions for voluntary workouts and bringing back student athletes under proper precautions include the following:
Universal masking when physical distancing is not possible.
Hand hygiene, especially after touching frequently used items or surfaces.
Disinfecting frequently used items and surfaces as much as possible.
Safe and efficient screening and testing sites for symptomatic individuals and trace contacts.
Surveillance, including contact tracing.
Isolation and quarantine for new infections or for high-risk exposure.
The NCAA also recommends having:
A COVID-19 communication plan that connects athletics with the broader institution.
A COVID-19 communication plan that connects the school, including athletics, with local and state facilities.
A plan to protect and support higher-risk individuals.
A plan to provide virtual alternatives as necessary and appropriate.
Facility-specific health and safety (including mental health) plans that address, among other things, necessary resources, supplies and other applicable distancing and sanitation guidelines.
Schools will individually use “discretion to make the best decisions possible for football and basketball student-athletes within the appropriate resocialization framework.” Reports have surfaced that nearly 60 Florida State football players and staff combined have been tested for coronavirus, with a tentative June 1 date a possibility.
Schools in the state of Florida have been prepping for a fall reopening since the middle of last month, with an overarching proposal approved last week. Individual universities are set to present their own plans on June 12, which are expected to include face mask standards and other precautions.