Update for NCAA Division I 2020
In order to kick off the college football season on time, coaches throughout the country could begin working with their players again as soon as July 6, and required meetings and walk-throughs could start in mid-July if a proposed six-week practice plan is approved by the NCAA later this month, it has been reported.
The NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee will finalize a draft of the long-awaited plan this week, but it has to be approved by the NCAA Division I council at its next meeting on June 17. The color-coded draft, obtained by ESPN on Monday, was circulated throughout conferences so schools could solicit feedback.
Todd Berry, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, was on last week's Football Oversight teleconference and said most of the coaches he has talked to support the plan, which includes a new two-week period for coach-supervised walk-throughs and meetings.
The beginning of coaching interaction would depend on the date of the first game. Some programs kick off the season on Aug. 29, or Week 0, which moves the three phases of proposed activities -- required workouts, enhanced training and preseason camp -- up a week. For teams that begin the season on Labor Day weekend, the required workouts would begin on July 13, followed by an enhanced training that begins on July 24, and a normal preseason camp start date of Aug. 7.
The switch from voluntary workouts, which have had staggered starts across the country this month, to required participation in "summer access" is a normal transition in the sport's calendar, but the recommendation of an additional two weeks specifically for coach-supervised walk-throughs and meetings was added with the hope of giving coaches extra time to evaluate players' conditioning and playbook knowledge. Players aren't allowed to wear helmets or pads during walk-throughs. According to the plan, they can use footballs, but it will be different than NFL OTAs, Berry said.
Under that proposal, the athletes can have up to 20 hours of "countable athletically related activities," including weight training, conditioning, film review, walk-throughs and meetings.
A normal, four-week preseason camp would begin after the additional two weeks of enhanced training. As players across the country have begun to return to campuses for voluntary workouts, there have already been some positive tests reported, but athletic officials are continuing to plan for an on-time start to the season in spite of some looming uncertainty.
West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, who is chair of the football oversight committee, told ESPN's Andrea Adelson that there is one area that might change between the proposed calendar and what gets approved on Thursday, and that is shortening the window between the start of required workouts on July 13 and the start of enhanced training on July 24.
Lyons said the reason the committee decided on a longer window between voluntary workouts and the start of enhanced training on July 24 was that they preferred a slower ramp up.
Lyons also added that even though some coaches wanted to try and get in extra time to make up for lost spring practices, that simply was not feasible considering the time constraints.
The return plan is the only thing on the agenda for the committee on this week. Lyons wants to come to a consensus then before sending it on to the NCAA Division I Council for approval.