For the second straight season, Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett was hoping to attend the prestigious Manning Passing Academy this summer.
Pickett was invited to return after his junior season at Pitt after attending the camp in 2019, a Pitt spokesperson confirmed to Pittsburgh Sports Now. But on Tuesday, it was announced that the camp will be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Former Ole Miss and New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning, the patriarch of the Manning Family, wrote a letter on the school’s website announcing its cancellation.
“There are times during a ballgame when you have to call an audible, and I’m disappointed to say that we are going to have to call one now and postpone this year’s camp to comply with the next stage of guidelines set forth by the state and the City of Thibodaux,” Manning wrote.
“It’s a difficult decision to make as postponing the MPA affects more than just the 1,200+ campers, but also the 200+ coaches, trainers and support staff that help put on our camp. It affects local businesses, restaurants, hotels and much more.”
The Manning Passing Academy has been held every summer since 1996 and was set to celebrate its 25th season this June at Nicholls State University. The camp is structured with Archie and his sons Cooper, Eli and Peyton Manning on the executive staff and current collegiate quarterbacks serving as the camp counselors to the youth attendees and also getting to spend time with the pros.
Pickett’s performance at the camp last season drew rave reviews from its professional staff, including Peyton Manning.
“After the first night, Peyton (Manning) came up to me and said, ‘That kid from Pitt, Pickett, I really like him. He throws the ball really well and I like the way that he carries himself. He’s a quarterback,’” quarterback coach Tony Racioppi told PSN.
Pickett said he was able to develop a relationship with the former Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos star during his time at the camp.
“We kind of clicked the first day,” Pickett said. “He saw me the first day. That night, we sat down to dinner and talked for an hour. Really cool experience. I just tried to ask him questions and soak up as much as I can from a guy like that. Really, I think it’ll benefit me in the long run.
“We were just talking about how to prepare, how to watch film. That’s the questions I was asking: how he went through his week, how he streamlined the information he received to bring out onto the field. We talked NFL. … We had a chalk talk thing on Saturday when all the players could ask him questions, anything they wanted for an hour straight. I took probably ten pages of notes.”
But as with most things in life, the coronavirus has impacted Pickett’s offseason schedule and plans to return to the camp, which was slated for June 25-28.
Pitt has not yet announced a date when players will be permitted to return to campus and the practice field for voluntary offseason workouts. They have been permitted by the NCAA to do so as soon as June 1, but will need Allegheny County to transition to the green phase of governor Tom Wolf’s reopening plan in order to proceed.