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Oklahoma's Lincoln Riley: COVID-19 Rules Haven't Been Equal for Power 5 Teams

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIMarch 28, 2020

Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley speaks with an offical during the first half of the Peach Bowl NCAA semifinal college football playoff game against LSU, Saturday, Dec. 28, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

Oklahoma football coach Lincoln Riley is ready for the NCAA to step in with unilateral guidelines for Power Five conference teams to operate under as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread and challenge states and programs differently. 

Speaking in a radio interview from Oklahoma, Riley worried about conferences setting different restrictions in response to COVID-19, creating an uneven playing field for schools around the country. 

"Our conference has been more stringent on it," Riley said of the Big 12, according to the Oklahoman's Ryan Aber. "We've not been able to do virtual meetings. Our players have not been able to come into our weight rooms even on an individual basis. We haven't been able to send them equipment, whereas a lot of other conferences like the ACC right now, they've been able to do all those things. That hasn’t been a positive."

Riley wasn't decrying any sort of strategic advantages so much as making sure programs are all doing their parts to limit the spread of the pathogen. The coach noted even with spring football practices and exhibitions canceled, there is plenty of time in fall camp for teams to prepare for the season with more than 20 practices still scheduled. 

The coach said from a health and safety standpoint, spring football isn't necessary given current events. 

As far as what the football calendar will look like in the fall, Riley is still unsure. While he hopes games won't be impacted, the Sooners coach was more focused on a return to normalcy and making sure the nation is safe from the virus before worrying about sports.

"It's all going to be predetermined by our nation's response to this virus and how seriously people take it," Riley said. "Hopefully our nation will continue to get more serious about this and respond in a positive way." 

In the meantime, conferences continue to set their own rules regarding what's permissible as the pandemic continues to spread. Until the NCAA steps in with new compliance recommendations, it'll be tough for programs to get on the same page. 

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