Virus Outbreak College Sports Cuts

NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis is pictured in this AP file photo.

STATE COLLEGE – The NCAA Division I Council on Wednesday voted to lift its ban on on-campus athletic activities beginning June 1.

The move could potentially clear players from Penn State’s men’s and women’s basketball and football teams to return to campus next month for voluntary activities.

Yahoo Sports’ national college football and basketball writer Pete Thamel first tweeted the developments on Wednesday afternoon. The Athletic, Sports Illustrated and Stadium have also confirmed the NCAA’s decision.

“Sources: The NCAA Division I Council voted to approve voluntary athletic activities in football, MBB and WBB to start June 1st and go through June 30th,” Thamel tweeted. “There had been a moratorium on that through May 31st. Other sports will be acted on on a later date.”

Penn State cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields on Wednesday shared his thoughts as to what would make him feel safe once the team receives clearance to return to campus.

“I’m sure coach (James) Franklin and (director of player personnel) Andy (Frank) have a great plan for us to return, and they’re going to bring us back when it’s most safe,” Castro-Fields said. “I’m going to kind of let them handle what’s necessary, but I’m going to be ready when we come back to compete.”

According to Thamel and Yahoo, universities’ guidelines for allowing student-athletes to return in June will have to be under those set by state and local health officials. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on May 8 transitioned Centre County – home of Penn State at University Park – from the red phase to the yellow phase under his tiered reopening plan

Under Wolf’s yellow phase social restriction guidelines, “Large Gatherings of More Than 25 (are) Prohibited.” Additionally, “Indoor Recreation, Health and Wellness Facilities and Personal Care Services (such as gyms, spas, hair salons, nail salons and other entities that provide massage therapy), and all Entertainment (such as casinos, theaters) Remain Closed.”

The Big Ten on May 4 extended its suspension of organized team activities through June 1.

“The Big Ten Conference announced today that it will extend the previously announced suspension of all organized team activities through June 1, 2020, and will re-evaluate again at that time,” the Big Ten tweeted.

“This is an additional measure to the previously announced cancellation of all conference and non-conference competitions through the end of the academic year, including spring sports that compete beyond the academic year. The Conference also has previously announced a moratorium on all on- and off-campus recruiting activities for the foreseeable future.”

The NCAA on March 12 suspended athletic activities through May 31 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Penn State on March 18 closed its campuses in the Commonwealth and turned to remote learning for the semester. The university system on June 15 will decide its course of action for the fall semester.

ELTON HAYES covers Penn State sports for CNHI. Email him at ehayes@cnhi.com. Follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.