by Rick Kindhart
In response to the NCAA Division I Council’s approval Wednesday, May 20, allowing the resumption of voluntary activities for certain student-athletes, Missouri State University has also begun finalizing steps to re-open many of its athletics practice and training facilities on a limited basis.
The latest NCAA action permits only football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball student-athletes to participate in voluntary, on-campus activities, beginning June 1, as long as all local, state and federal regulations are followed. Additionally, teams in those sports may require eight hours per week of virtual non-physical activities through the end of June, recognizing that some student-athletes won’t be able return to campus or will not be comfortable doing so.
Voluntary, on-campus activities must be initiated by the student-athlete. Coaches may not be present unless a sport-specific safety exception allows it. Likewise, activity cannot be directed by a coach or reported back to a coach.
“What this means for us is a first step in having our student-athletes able to condition and train in our own facilities,” said Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. “We won’t have all of our football and basketball players showing up June 1. This will be a gradual process, to allow some individuals to work out, but these are not team workouts.
“Obviously we are a long way from ‘normal’ or having everyone back. But in consultation and cooperation with university officials, we will take great precautions to create a safe environment for our student-athletes and our staff who chose to return.”
According to Moats, Missouri State’s re-entry plan for student-athletes to begin voluntary activities includes two basic requirements: a risk assessment survey and COVID-19 clearance procedures facilitated through Magers Health & Wellness Center on the Springfield campus.
Additionally, all voluntary activities will implement specific safety criteria related to social distancing, gathering size, limiting contact, use of personal protective equipment, facility sanitation, and daily risk assessments.
Moats also noted that additional sports are expected to be added to the NCAA’s list of allowable volunteer activities in the coming weeks.