It’s now official … we are less than a month from football practices being able to start with Arkansas.
The NCAA Division I Council approved a six-week practice plan for football teams that has been anticipated and expected for about a month. That means the Razorbacks can hit the field July 13 with coaches and pretty much however many players they want to put out there.
“We’ve talked about it and we’re prepared for it,” Hogs coach Sam Pittman said a few weeks ago. ?It just depends on what the hours situation is.”
ESPN. com reported Wednesday afternoon the 110-player limit was also waived, according to West Virginia athletics director Shane Lyons, who is also the chair of the Football Oversight Committee.
Lyons said it will be left to the discretion of each institution how many athletes it has at camp.
“Let’s say you have 120 working out, and then all of a sudden you have to send 10 kids home for two weeks, and then they come back, you have testing issues and a bunch of other things,” Lyons told ESPN this week. “This is the year you want to keep them in this kind of a bubble as opposed to sending them back out into their own communities.”
It’s the first official timeline the NCAA has come out with since the covid-19 pandemic shut down college athletics in March.
Numbers since then show college athletes are at an incredibly low mortality risk. In Arkansas, ramped-up testing has a shown that 93.5% of tests are negative with a mortality rate less than 1.5%, primarily people over the age of 65 and those with underlying health issues.
The players will be allowed up to 20 hours of countable athletically-related activities per week, including up to one hour each day for a walk-through. The players aren’t allowed to wear helmets or pads during the walk-throughs, but they can use a football.
“It’s really just more of an opportunity from an evaluation standpoint in terms of their conditioning, so we have this ramp-up going into preseason,” Lyons told ESPN.
For the several teams in the same boat as the Hogs without getting more than (at the most) a few days of spring practice they would like more but they’ll take what they can get.
“We need on-the-field movement,” Pittman said.
Now he knows what he’ll be getting.