NCAA council approves football, basketball plans

Washington State wide receiver Calvin Jackson Jr. dives toward the pylon during a Pac-12 Conference game Nov. 23 at Martin Stadium in Pullman.

The Washington State and Idaho football teams will get the green light to conduct mandatory conditioning drills in July, according to an NCAA plan approved Wednesday in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Cougars are allowed to begin mandatory weight-training, conditioning sessions and film review starting July 11, and the Vandals will have the OK to start two days later.

The two Palouse schools have different go-ahead dates because WSU opens its season with a Thursday game, at Utah State on Sept. 3. The Vandals open two days later at home against Western Oregon.

The plan, outlined by the NCAA Oversight Committee last week and approved by its Division I Council, is designed to guide teams through a gradual return to preseason activities and help them offset the loss of spring and early-summer activity because of the pandemic.

Most schools were afforded little or no spring drills before the sports world shut down, and voluntary on-campus workouts weren’t permissible until this week.

The second phase of the NCAA plan, which begins July 22 for WSU and two days later for Idaho, allows schools to conduct six weekly hours of mandatory walk-throughs, as well as eight hours of weight-training and six hours of meetings. That phase will last two weeks and will include two mandatory rest days for players.

After that, teams can begin their usual 29-day preseason workouts.

The council also approved a plan to allow college basketball players to start working with their coaches for the first time since the pandemic wiped out March Madness.

The summer access period for men’s and women’s players will begin July 20 and can last up to eight weeks until Sept. 15 or the first day of classes, whichever comes first. Those activities include weight training, conditioning and skills instruction with coaches supervising for up to eight hours per week. Skills instruction can not exceed four hours per week and no days off are required.

The original proposal from the basketball oversight committee’s asked for an 18-day period from July 1-19 when players could add “enhanced in-person nonphysical activities” to the already permissible voluntary weight training and conditioning at team facilities. Those enhanced activities included team and individual meetings requested by the athletes and film study.

The council instead extended the current rule, allowing voluntary activities and up to eight hours per week of virtual activities through July 19.

The council deferred a decision on a proposal to restart off-campus basketball recruiting and altering the calendar. The council needed more time to consider the recruiting recommendations and will vote on the recruiting calendar in a few weeks. It also will consider adding more activities for basketball players during the July 1-19 period.

Full preseason practice can start 42 days before a school’s first regular-season game.

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