Clemson fans, like fans of college sports in general, will be looking closely at a vote that appears to be coming next week that could play a huge part In whether or not there will be college football this season.
The NCAA’s Division I Council is a 40 member decision making body made up of key college athletic figures. According to a report from Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, they will make a decision as to whether or not to lift the nation wide moratorium for on campus summer activities.
This would open up the road for universities to welcome back their athletes as early as June 1st. The ban that was put in place in March during the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak is set to expire on May 31st.
Council members have three options.
- They can keep school campuses shutdown completely by extending the ban. (This is seen as an unlikely ruling says people in the know about the discussions.)
- The Council can open campuses for voluntary training without coaching interaction
- They can grant required training with staff interaction.
It is thought that the members are in somewhat agreement on allowing voluntary access but they do plan to get feedback from coaches and administrators in the coming days before they make a decision.
As this huge vote gets closer there are many athletic departments across the country that are planning to have voluntary workouts with football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball players. With the use of this scenario, athletes would have the ability to work out at team facilities, with supervision from strength coaches, while other school officials would administer safety precautions.
For example, screening athletes, sanitizing equipment, and creating schedules for small group training. With that said, many administrators are hoping the council lifts the ban and allows required training so that players can have their normal summer activity. That is a maximum of eight hours per week (six with strength coaches and two with on-field coaches).
Some do feel that option #3 is not going to be chosen. This is due to the inequality concerns with 130 FBS programs spread across states and the differences in guidelines. While many states are in the middle of reopening plans there are still some states that remain closed with tight shelter at home orders and large gathering restrictions still in place. Many conference commissioners have stated that they believe that schools will begin on campus training in June and that they will be starting at different times.
Many conferences are expected to meet soon to discuss their own conference wide rulings on summer activities. The SEC officials have a scheduled meeting next Friday, the Pac-12 is suppose to meet Monday, and the Big-10 will be meeting on June 7th.
Then you do have some conferences that plan to leave the decisions up to their individual schools. These conferences include the Sun Belt and American Athletic.
The fortunate thing for Clemson fans hoping to see football is that South Carolina, to this point, is one of the states that is opening at a quicker pace. There are still some states in the ACC’s territory that are up in the air like Virginia, Massachusetts, and New York.
Kentucky seems to be opening up at a slower pace but they are scheduled to begin reopening retail businesses this Wednesday and they plan to allow for gatherings of no more than 10 by May 25th. So it is possible that Louisville could be ready. Then you have Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia that would seem as though they would be able to go.
This vote though will be a huge step in what now appears more likely to be when, not if, we have a football season this year. Many Tiger fans will be watching closely to see what the vote ends up being and hoping for something other than option one.
One other thing that is a huge plus for Dabo Swinney and his staff is the fact that, by all accounts, Tiger players appear to know what they need to be doing as far as their training goes and are doing their best to follow their own workouts during the quarantine. Even the Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence has made it clear that he is ready to get back on the field.
As Clemson fans move forward though, keep in mind that this ride that Dabo and company have us on. Like life, nothing is promised, nor guaranteed, so do yourself a favor and enjoy every minute. There are a lot of fans of other programs that would love to be enjoying this ride, but haven’t had the opportunity. Many may never get to experience it.
Many of the Tiger fans that remember the 1981 National Title realize how long the span of years were between the second one that Dabo and company got I n 2016. Yes, it is like Dabo says,,,,“The best is yet to come!” But you gotta enjoy everyone one of the high points so that the votes like this one from the NCAA won’t be the only high points in the memory books as fans.