The National Collegiate Athletic Association voted to allow voluntary on-campus activities to start for all sports beginning June 1, it announced Friday.
Due to concerns of coronavirus, the NCAA Division 1 Council banned all on-campus activities in March.
However, as that postponement is set to end on May 31, the council held a virtual meeting Wednesday to vote on a new decision to begin in June.
The NCAA originally announced that only football and basketball can resume voluntary workouts on June 1 and that a decision on all sports would be made within the coming week.
A few days later, it was announced that universities can now start planning accordingly to safely integrate multiple sports back on-campus.
For Long Beach State, the athletic department is working with campus, city and county health officials as well as campus leadership to determine when it’s possible for workouts to resume.
“We’re not there yet to set a date when we will resume on campus,” said Long Beach State Athletic Director Andy Fee. “My hope is that it is soon but it won’t be until it’s completely safe as possible as we can make it for those student athletes.”
Sports like basketball would see many social distancing guidelines in place for athletes as they work out in the Walter Pyramid.
Although guidelines aren’t official yet, Fee said that he has been following the NBA’s strict protocols in practice facilities where the amount of people in an area is limited.
One scenario would be that there would only be six student athletes allowed inside the Walter Pyramid at a time. Each student athlete would be restricted to only using one basket.
Drills involving multiple players and coaches would take some time to start again.
“I think we would start very simply and build off that,” Fee said.
Fee said that individual workouts and getting players fit would be the main priority of the department moving forward. If they feel comfortable over the course of around three weeks, up to 10 athletes would be allowed to play a practice scrimmage.
“We don’t want to go too fast,” Fee said. “Certainly with the virus, we can’t control that but we can control what we know right now and that’s the most important thing as we build it out.”
With the announcement that all sports can resume on-campus workouts, the department has had to make preparations for multiple facilities to open beyond the Walter Pyramid that would also follow social distancing guidelines.
Fee said that fall sports like women’s soccer could have access granted to George Allen Field where athletes can work on solo dribbling drills and set pieces.
Tennis can have some individual workouts in place but making two athletes play against each other could mean using automatic tennis ball machines to be the server.
Men’s water polo would be able to access the pool where athletes can get in the water and have swim workouts on their own, practicing social distancing.
Golf, another fall sport, is much easier to practice social distancing than some other sports, according to Fee.
“Some [sports] lend themselves more easily to return to activities than others and that’s what we want to be really careful about,” Fee said. “The number one thing that we think about and worry about is the health and well-being of those student athletes.”