UC Davis Athletics to wait, follow county guidelines on reopening facilities for practices

UC Davis Athletics to wait, follow county guidelines on reopening facilities for practices

Photo Credits: KAITLYN PANG / AGGIE

Decision follows NCAA announcement allowing voluntary training starting June 1 

On May 22, the NCAA announced it would allow voluntary activities to be held for Division I sports starting June 1. The announcement means that all Division I programs can now hold voluntary practices for eight hours each week. This expands on a previous NCAA decision from May 20 allowing for D-1 basketball and football teams to begin holding on-campus voluntary activities on June 1 as long as all “local, state and federal regulations are followed.”

Prior to this announcement, the NCAA only allowed teams to hold eight hours of voluntary virtual activities each week. This decision, coupled with UC Davis’ decision to cancel all on-campus athletics activities for the spring season, meant that spring sports teams have been unable to practice in person since mid-March. Now, UC Davis Athletics is deciding how to move forward with summer training.

Currently, the state of California’s COVID public health guidelines allow for local health inspectors to commence with a gradual reopening under state guidelines. Following this directive, Yolo County recently lifted its shelter-in-place orders and has moved into Phase 2 of its reopening plan. In Phase 2, the county will allow for the gradual reopening of lower risk facilities, including schools, with some modifications. 

Some of these modifications may need to include adjusting the practice schedules and activities for the UC Davis sports teams that have been unable to practice in person this quarter.

“We are eager to resume permission for student athletes to partake in voluntary activities,” said UC Davis Director of Athletics Kevin Blue. “However, the availability of our facilities, and the availability and the permissibility of UC Davis students doing voluntary learning activities on our campus is subject to Yolo County and the County Public Health guidelines and how the shelter-in-place Order affects what’s permissible activity.”

The Athletics Department is currently awaiting word from Yolo County officials as to whether or not it will be able to reopen and in what capacity. As a result, the department is unsure when, exactly, teams will be able to resume in-person training. In addition, it’s possible that in the coming months only certain training functions will be available.

“Right now, it’s within the shelter-in-place guidelines for people to go for an outdoor run, so long as they maintain social distance,” Blue said. “Our distance runners, for example, can train on running trails the same as they would in a more conventional environment so long as they’re maintaining social distancing. On the other hand, indoor spaces, like a basketball gym, may not be available for access because of public health guidelines from Yolo County in the State of California.”

Regardless of when local and state guidelines will allow for the reopening of UC Davis facilities, the university would still need to take proper precautions before allowing for in-person practice and the use of athletics facilities.

“Any reopening would be done safely and gradually, but we don’t have details or specifics on it because we simply lack any advanced understanding of what the state and county will do as far as relaxing [restrictions],” Blue said.

Written by: Priya Reddy — sports@theaggie.org