College football fans have been hoping to see football played this fall and have been watching to see what rulings would come from the NCAA in reference to if, and when student athletes can get back on campus, and start preparing for a season. We all got some optimistic news this week. Not just from the university but also the NCAA.

First, the NCAA’s D1 Council voted on Wednesday to allow football and basketball teams to start “on campus voluntary athletics activities” as of June 1st. This is also given that local, state, and federal regulations are followed. Council chair M. Grace Calhoun (athletic director at Pennsylvania) had the following statement in reference to the decision…

“We encourage each school to use its discretion to make the best decisions possible for football and basketball student-athletes within the appropriate resocialization framework. Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”

University President James Clements stated on Wednesday that Clemson plans on opening the fall semester on schedule, have in person classes, and plans to have students in their resident halls. Clemson’s fall semester is scheduled to start on August 19th.

“Our stance has not changed from that meeting on April 23. In fact, it has only strengthened.” Clements told Clemson’s Board of Trustees at a special meeting on Wednesday. 

One thing that has helped is the fact that Clemson was ahead of the curve going into the pandemic that has shut down most of the country and they hope to be in the same position when classes resume this fall. This was evident even more during the special meeting. This meeting was held to discuss the University’s plan for reopening.

Greg Mullen, Clemson University Police Chief, advised the Board Of Trustees that the university will begin Phase 1 of its return to campus the 1st of June. According to him, Phase 1 will be limited to on campus work and will include facilities, along with maintenance staff, who will be helping to get the campus ready for more university employees and student returns.

Once Phase 1 begins, the university will be monitoring the amount of COVID-19 cases in the area for a 14 day period. If the numbers continue on a downward path, they will then begin Phase 2.

This will include more faculty and university employees being allowed to return to campus. Mullen did not say, but it is expected that this will be when student athletes may be allowed to come back. He did state that Phase 2 will allow the reopening of facilities like gyms and recreational areas. 

“Starting to really re-energize a lot of those in person opportunities on campus, but still letting those most vulnerable stay home and work remotely and for those that are carrying for vulnerable members of their family so there is still an opportunity for them to remain working remotely. As we continue to open up those areas, we get back into things such as gyms and recreational facilities and other areas that can open.”

Greg Mullen Clemson Chief of Police

Next is Phase 3, which will be a full return to campus, with the plan being to have a fall semester. 

“It is important to understand that the future state, that is phase three, may continue for a period of time and it will be a new normal. So, we will still be executing social distancing… and things that will help us remain healthy for a period of time once we move into phase three and until additional medical opportunities are presented to us to contain the virus.”

Greg Mullen Clemson Chief of Police

As fans still continue to adapt to what we’re told will be a new norm includes more distancing, masks, gloves, more use of bleach, increased use of hand sanitizer, and even more advertisements telling people to cover up when coughing and/or sneezing.

For most, it is good to hear some optimistic news and many will be watching closely to see haw the phases go. Rest assured, that will not only include fans, but coaches and players alike, across the entire country.

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