NCAA council approves 6-week football practice plan

As expected, the NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday approved a six-week practice plan beginning in July that will transition teams from voluntary workouts amid the coronavirus pandemic to more traditional preseason activities to prepare for a 2020 season.

The plan was initially approved last week by the Football Oversight Committee, which is chaired by West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons. It provides a unified timeline and will allow coaches to hold sessions and interact with players for the first time since mid-March.

Teams that begin the season on Labor Day Weekend can begin required workouts July 13. Pitt, which opens its season Sept. 5 against Miami (Ohio) at Heinz Field, falls into this timeline, as do Penn State and West Virginia. Enhanced training can begin July 24 and a four-week preseason camp can start Aug. 7.

Schools opening the season Aug. 29 would begin required workouts July 6.

The enhanced training is a two-week period designed to get players ready for camp. It will focus on weight training, conditioning, film review, walk-throughs and meetings. Players will be permitted up to 20 hours of athletic-related activity per week. No helmets or pads or permitted for walkthroughs, but footballs are allowed.

Teams will be permitted up to an hour per day for meetings.

Pitt players are in the middle of the second week of a phased return to campus. Athletic director Heather Lyke recently detailed Pitt's process, which included a two-week quarantine for players who recently arrived on campus. Coaches have been conducting virtual meetings during this time.

Next week, groups of 10 players will be permitted to lift with the team's strength and conditioning staff. Lyke said if the process works and there is not a covid-19 outbreak within the team, groups of 50 will be allowed to lift together.

In addition to the plan's approval, the NCAA voted to waive the preseason limit of 110 athletes. It will be up to the schools to determine how many players are permitted at camp.

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