The NCAA Division I council ruled on Friday that all sports can begin voluntary athletic activities on June 1, after earlier in the week giving the green light to football and basketball teams.
Schools still must abide by guidelines set forth by their conferences and by state and local governments.
“The return of voluntary activity in addition to the extension of the waiver to allow virtual, nonphysical activity shows sensitivity to local, state and regional differences in how Division I campuses are reopening,” said Penn athletic directory M. Grace Calhoun, the council chair. “We will continue to be considerate of these differences with wise and flexible administration of our regulations, and we expect schools to keep the well-being of student-athletes as a priority.”
The Southeastern Conference announced on Friday that it will allow student athletes to return to campus league-wide on June 8, while the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big Ten Conferences said that they will not make league-wide decisions, leaving it up to individual schools to decide when to have students return to campus. Pitt athletic director Heather Lyke currently serves on the Division I council.
In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf announced on Friday that 17 counties will enter the green phase of reopening from the coronavirus pandemic that will permit sporting activities, but Allegheny County is not one of them.
Fall sports such as cross country, soccer and volleyball will be among those most impacted by the news on Friday, as they were waiting to see whether they would be permitted to join football in planning for a normal offseason.
Voluntary offseason workouts must be athlete-driven, with minimal coaching supervision. Pittsburgh Sports Now has learned that Pitt’s incoming freshmen football players have been told they should expect to get a date that they can report to campus in the next few days. Though technically voluntary, Pitt football has near-full participation under Pat Narduzzi.