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

Rece Davis optimistic college football season will happen (2:18)

Rece Davis joins SportsCenter and says there is "a great deal of optimism" that the 2020 college football season will happen. (2:18)

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: 14 Oklahoma football players test positive as workouts begin

Wednesday, July 1: A total of 14 Oklahoma football players have tested positive for the coronavirus, along with two of the 72 staff members who were tested, the school announced Wednesday as it began voluntary workouts. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the athletic department also announced it has implemented budget cuts of approximately $13.7 million, including a 10% salary reduction for any employee earning $1 million or more per year.

Penn State AD: Spring football 'last resort': Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour said a spring college football season "would be a last resort" to safely squeeze in the sport during the coronavirus pandemic, citing the impact it would have on the 2021 fall season as a major hurdle.

Pitino suggests later start: Rick Pitino wants college basketball officials to consider a later start as the coronavirus pandemic continues to complicate plans for the return of college sports. Pitino, the two-time NCAA champion who was hired in March as Iona's new head coach, tweeted Wednesday that college basketball should start in January and teams should only play league games in hopes of "getting things under control" with COVID-19.

Monday, June 29: Arizona paused its plan to bring athletes back to campus Monday, citing a surge in COVID-19 cases in Pima County and its impact on the local healthcare system. The school started bringing back athletes June 15 for voluntary workouts in groups of approximately 20, with new groups arriving each week.

Michigan salary reductions: The University of Michigan athletic department is projecting a budget deficit of $26.1 million for the 2021 fiscal year due to the coronavirus pandemic, and as part of expense-reducing initiatives, athletic director Warde Manuel, football coach Jim Harbaugh and men's basketball coach Juwan Howard will all accept a 10% salary reduction from August 1, 2020, through the end of the fiscal year.

Ivy League options: The Ivy League is considering two possibilities for an altered football season, including forgoing the entire fall in favor of a seven-game, conference-only, spring season.

Saturday, June 27: UNLV has suspended on-campus workouts after four positive coronavirus tests. The workouts have been postponed until at least July 5.

Friday, June 26: The total number of coronavirus cases on the Clemson football team rose to 37 this month after 14 more positive tests. Clemson has had 47 total cases across all sports.

Texas Tech positive cases: Texas Tech announced Friday that 23 members of the football team have tested positive for the coronavirus. All but two of the athletes have fully recovered since being tested on June 15.

Thursday, June 25: Wake Forest coach Dave Clawson said Thursday he'll be isolating from his wife, Catherine, a cancer survivor, once football camp opens for the team on July 12, and doesn't expect to return home until the season concludes.

Wednesday, June 24: Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo remains optimistic that the Midshipmen won't be playing in an empty stadium in the season opener at home against Notre Dame. The longest continuous intersectional rivalry in the country was moved from Ireland to Annapolis because of COVID-19 and is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 5.

Grand Canyon basketball team quarantined: Grand Canyon's entire men's basketball team has been placed in quarantine after four players and two support staff members tested positive for COVID-19. All 14 players and two student managers are in quarantine at a designated on-campus residence hall for the next two weeks.

Franklin's family staying in Florida: Penn State coach James Franklin told HBO's Real Sports that his family will stay in Florida while he coaches this season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Franklin, his wife and two daughters have been in their own quarantine since March. His youngest daughter, who is 12, has sickle cell disease, a blood disorder that puts her at-risk for complications from the virus.

Monday, June 22: Boise State has closed campus facilities, including those for athletics, for the remainder of the week amid an increase in "community-based" coronavirus cases, the school said Monday. In a school press release, Boise State said eight positive or presumed positive coronavirus cases were discovered across campus.

Five more Baylor athletes test positive: Five more Baylor athletes have tested positive for COVID-19, the school said Monday, making it eight positives from among 109 tests conducted in the process of returning to campus for voluntary workouts and conditioning.

Patriot League restricts travel: The seven-member Patriot League announced its guidelines for the return of sports, including a shortened season and restrictions on travel. The conference schedule will begin at the end of September and finish before Thanksgiving; and no Patriot League teams would fly to games, and with rare exceptions, regular-season overnight travel will be prohibited.

Rutgers player test positive: Two Rutgers football players have tested positive for the coronavirus. Coach Greg Schiano discussed the test results Monday during a conference call.

Saturday, June 20: A large number of LSU football players have been placed in quarantine to limit the spread of the coronavirus. At least 30 athletes, possibly more, have been placed in quarantine.

Kansas State practice suspension: Kansas State has suspended football workouts for 14 days after 14 athletes from various sports tested positive for the coronavirus.

Friday, June 19: Clemson confirmed that 21 members on the Tigers' football team tested positive for coronavirus. The team now has 23 confirmed cases overall.

Thursday, June 18: The University of Texas announced that 13 football players have confirmed positive coronavirus test results or are presumed positive. All 13 players are now self-isolating, and 10 more players identified through contact tracing are in self-quarantine but asymptomatic at this time, according to a statement from the university.

Virtual ACC media days: The ACC will hold media days virtually July 21-23, the league announced Thursday.

Wednesday, June 17: The NCAA Division I Council approved a six-week practice plan that begins in July and will transition teams from the current voluntary workouts amid the coronavirus pandemic to the typical mandatory meetings and preseason camps to prepare for the 2020 football season.

NCAA allows D-1 summer basketball activities starting July 20: The NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday approved summer plans for men's and women's basketball, allowing required summer athletics activities to begin July 20.

HBCU game canceled over coronavirus: The Southern Heritage Classic, which since 1990 has annually matched football teams from historically black colleges and universities at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, the game's promoters announced Wednesday. Jackson State and Tennessee State were scheduled to play in the 31st Southern Heritage Classic on Sept. 12.

5 SMU athletes test positive: Five of the 75 SMU athletes who returned to campus this week tested positive for COVID-19, the school announced Wednesday. All five athletes were asymptomatic.

Tuesday, June 16: Kansas State confirmed Tuesday that two student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19 out of approximately 120 who have undergone testing.

Monday, June 15: A football player at West Virginia has tested positive for the coronavirus, the school said Monday on the first day of voluntary workouts. The school's athletic department said in a statement that contact tracing identified other football players who could have been exposed to the athlete.


How are colleges trying to enforce football player safety?

NCAA football players' return to campus, including documents that vow student-athletes will follow health and safety protocols.

Buckeyes players, parents asked to sign waiver: Ohio State football players and their parents were asked to sign an acknowledgement of risk waiver regarding COVID-19 before returning to campus for voluntary workouts on June 8, athletic director Gene Smith confirmed to ESPN on Sunday.

Friday, June 12: The University of Houston has suspended voluntary workouts after six athletes in various sports tested positive for the coronavirus. Houston is the first school to suspend athletic activity after allowing athletes back on campus.

Virtual SEC media days: The SEC will hold virtual football media days instead of its annual in-person event this year as the sport continues to feel the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, June 9: Penn State is using technology to move forward in recruiting by creating virtual combines for football prospects. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NCAA Division I Council created a dead period in recruiting that prevents programs from evaluating recruits in person through July 31.

Monday, June 8: In order to kick off the college football season on time, coaches throughout the country could begin working with their players again as soon as July 6, and required meetings and walk-throughs with a football could start in mid-July if a proposed six-week practice plan is approved by the NCAA later this month.

Seven Arkansas State athletes test positive: Seven Arkansas State athletes across three sports have tested positive for the coronavirus during their return to campus, the school announced Thursday. All seven were asymptomatic, according to a statement from Arkansas State chancellor Kelly Damphousse.

Tuesday, June 2: Notre Dame football will not open the season against Navy in Dublin, Ireland, on Aug. 29 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but the teams will face each other at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Maryland, most likely on Labor Day weekend, Notre Dame announced Tuesday morning.

Friday, May 29: The NCAA released a long and detailed plan Friday to help schools bring athletes back to campus during a pandemic.

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.


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 with regard to safety protocols for college athletes during the coronavirus pandemic.

Tuesday, May 26: 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.


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.

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


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.

How college football is trying to answer its biggest return-to-play questions: How do you keep the players safe? Did schools err in bringing players back? How can there be uniformity in testing or scheduling? What will practice look like in a contact sport? And what do the players think? We talked to athletic directors, coaches, athletes and parents, as well as medical and legal experts, to get a sense of where things stand with the start of the season less than two months away. Read

Inside college football's plan to return from coronavirus lockdown: The NCAA's Division I Council approved a six-week practice plan for college football that begins in July and will transition teams from the current voluntary workouts amid the coronavirus pandemic to the typical mandatory meetings and preseason camps to prepare for the 2020 season. Here's what you need to know. Read

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?


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):


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: June 15
North Carolina: June 15
NC State: TBD.
Pittsburgh: June 8
Syracuse: June 9
Virginia: July 5
Virginia Tech : TBD.
Wake Forest: TBD.
*-Notre Dame: June 22 (voluntary workouts)

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: June 8
Maryland: June 15
Michigan: June 15
Michigan State: TBD.
Minnesota: TBD.
Nebraska: June 1
Northwestern: June 22
Ohio State: June 8 (voluntary on-campus workouts).
Penn State: June 15
Purdue: TBD.
Rutgers: June 15
Wisconsin: June 15

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: June 15
Iowa State: TBD.
Kansas: TBD.
Kansas State: TBD.
Oklahoma: July 1 (voluntary workouts)
Oklahoma State: June 15
TCU: June 15
Texas: June 15
Texas Tech: June 15
West Virginia: June 15


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: June 15
Arizona State: TBD.
California: June 17
UCLA: June 22
Colorado: June 15
Oregon: June 15
Oregon State: June 15
USC: June 24
Stanford: TBD.
Utah: TBD.
Washington: TBD.
Washington State: TBD.


The conference announced that voluntary, in-person athletics activities may resume on SEC campuses, at the discretion of each university, beginning June 8 under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution:

Alabama: TBD.
Arkansas: TBD.
Auburn: June 8
Florida: TBD.
Georgia: TBD.
Kentucky: June 8
Ole Miss: June 8
Mississippi State: TBD.
Missouri: June 8
South Carolina: June 8
Tennessee: TBD.
Texas A&M: June 9
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:

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