Oklahoma Announces Voluntary Football Workouts Will Begin July 1

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2020

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 28: Head coach Lincoln Riley of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts to a call during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl against the LSU Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 28, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The University of Oklahoma announced it will reopen for voluntary football workouts, beginning July 1. 

"As we have planned for the re-opening of our facilities, the health of our student-athletes and staff has been our top priority," director of athletics Joe Castiglione said. "It is the principal that has guided every step of our meticulous process. At OU, we are fortunate to have one of the most respected teams of doctors and athletic trainers in the country. We have looked to them for direction in our preparation and protocols. They will continue to play an important role in the weeks leading up to our opening and beyond.

"We believe in our approach and are convinced that it best positions our student-athletes and staff for long-term success. It is with great excitement that we look forward to their return in preparation for the upcoming sports seasons."

Student-athletes who choose to return for the workouts will undergo medical testing and observation by Oklahoma doctors. The school says players will be "continuously monitored and will be expected to adhere to a number of safety protocols and guidelines."

The NCAA announced student-athletes can begin returning to campus June 1 for voluntary workouts. Holding a college football season as scheduled remains up in the air because of the pandemic.

The NCAA has maintained it will not have games until students are allowed back on campus.

"All of the commissioners and every president that I've talked to is in clear agreement: If you don't have students on campus, you don't have student-athletes on campus," NCAA President Mark Emmert told reporters earlier this month. "That doesn't mean [the school] has to be up and running in the full normal model, but you have to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students. ... If a school doesn't reopen, then they're not going to be playing sports. It's really that simple."

The vast majority of states are still restricting large gatherings for the foreseeable future, though many have been opening to a degree. The California State University system already announced it plans to hold nearly all classes online in the fall, which would seemingly make San Diego State, Fresno State and San Jose State not eligible to play.

Voluntary workouts are different from holding games. The NCAA has not allowed member schools to hold any mandatory activities.