Cases of the coronavirus continue to spike throughout the country, as does the uncertainty over how a 2020 college football season is going to look, if one takes place at all.
Penn State, however, will proceed to the next step allowed by the NCAA in the preseason — beginning workouts Monday with coaches present for two weeks, a total of eight hours each week.
- Big Ten announces it will limit 2020 competition in football and other fall sports to conference play
- Division III Centennial Conference suspends all athletic competitions for fall semester
- Penn State athletics VP Sandy Barbour admits ‘a little bit of pessimism’ about whether football will be delayed, or played at all
Then on July 24, the process will shift to allow for walk-throughs and team meetings for a maximum of 20 hours per week, a chance for coaches to begin evaluating their players.
That phase is expected to last two weeks. The NCAA had decided on Aug. 7 as the date to begin training camp for teams that begin their season on Sept. 5, but the Penn State schedule is in doubt since the Big Ten announced Thursday that it would conduct a football season of conference-only games.
With the change, the Nittany Lions lost nonconference games on Sept. 5, 12, and 19. Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said a new schedule would be worked out in the next week.
“We’ll work through all of the scheduling issues that we’ll have to deal with to make sure that we’re always doing the best that we possibly can to keep our student-athletes healthy and safe,” he said, “but also provide some Big Ten football — hopefully in the fall — to our fans.”
The pandemic closed the Penn State campus before the Nittany Lions could begin spring practice, so coaches will be working in-person with players Monday for the first time. The program has four new coaches on staff — offensive coordinator Kirk Ciarrocca, offensive line coach Phil Trautwein, wide receivers coach Taylor Stubblefield, and defensive line coach John Scott Jr.
The Lions began voluntary workouts last month, bringing in a “first phase” of 75 players on June 8 who were tested and quarantined and beginning workouts on June 15. A program spokesperson said last week that the current number of football players taking part to date is not known.