ATHENS — SEC administrators took a step toward resuming football-related activity on Friday, giving the OK for online instruction beginning at 1 p.m. (EDT) on Monday.
It’s a small step, but it shows the intent for preparation leading into the 2020 season, even as some have become skeptical amid the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
“What they will be allowed to do now is what they could have been doing in campus football meetings, from an instruction standpoint,” Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told DawgNation on Friday.
“Coaches are obviously not able to provide any physical delivery of information, or conduct any physical activity,” McGarity said, referring to the current SEC policy which runs through April 15.
“But if you want to sit down online with a group of wide receivers and show video, and teach and have chalk talks, all that is fine.”
Big for Georgia
Obviously it’s key for Georgia football, which has a new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in Todd Monken and is replacing three-year starter Jake Fromm at quarterback.
Wake Forest graduate transfer Jamie Newman is the favorite to assume controls of an offense that will have RPO and Pro Style principles.
The modification for online instruction applies to all sports.
There remains a strong likelihood the SEC’s ban on team activities on campus will be extended beyond April 15, with schools finishing their spring academic courses online.
The Big Ten announced on Friday it will extend the previously announced suspension of all organized team activities through May 4.
Student-athletes who have not yet enrolled in school will not be eligible for the online chalk talk interaction, per the modifications’ stipulations.
Georgia true freshman quarterback Carson Beck was an early enrollee, so he will be eligible.
AJC.com reported on Friday there have been 2001 confirmed coronavirus cases in Georgia, including 29 in Clarke County, home to the University of Georgia.
Timeline in place?
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said on ESPN that he considers July 1 a deadline of sorts, as far as getting the players engaged in physical activity leading into the season.
“There’s going to be a day where we all, as college football administrators and coaches, come up with a date where, from a player safety standpoint, we have to say this is the date that we can live with to get these young men physically ready to go into camp,” Kelly said earlier this week on SportsCenter.
“If you can’t start training your football team by July 1 …. the realistic goal is minimum of four weeks of conditioning before you put them in camp,” Kelly said. “College football is going to be affected if we’re not playing in 90 days, in terms of the conditioning element and getting these young men ready.”
Georgia coach Kirby Smart has yet to issue a public statement on his thoughts about the return to football, other than a video.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the league meetings and annual SEC Media Days remain on schedule.
The new allowance permitting the “online chalk talks,” so to speak, comes with stipulations outlined in an SEC memo first obtained by 247Sports and confirmed by McGarity:
1. All required physical athletic activities (e.g., strength and conditioning workouts, sport- specific workouts) shall be prohibited. This prohibition includes both in-person involvement, and any virtual involvement by institutional staff such as remotely watching, directing, or reviewing physical workouts.
2. Required virtual film review, chalk talk, etc. that does not include physical activity shall be permissible. Any required activity of this nature shall be limited to two (2) hours of activity per week in all sports, shall be scheduled in accordance with the institution’s established Time Management Policy, and shall not interfere with required class time for online instruction. These activities may not include a review by or live monitoring of film/video of a student-athlete engaging in workouts or physical activity occurring after March 13, 2020. Institutions may not suggest or require a student-athlete to make film/video of his/her workouts or physical activity available by other means (such as social media).
3. Prospective student-athletes may not be involved in any way in such required, countable activities conducted by the institution.
4. Only countable coaching staff members may be involved in providing technical or tactical instruction to student-athletes as part of such virtual activity.
5. Student-athletes may continue to be provided strength and conditioning workouts and/or sport-specific drills; however, coaches and other athletics staff may not observe the activity (virtually or in-person). Student-athletes may not be required to (perform) workouts and/or drills, nor may they be required to report back on such activity to any athletics staff member.
6. These modifications shall be effective as of 12:00 pm Central/1:00 pm Eastern on Monday, March 30.
7. Further assessment of off-season and/or summer activities will occur in the coming weeks.
8. Athletics programs are expected to comply with public health directives governing workplace activity and limitations on gatherings.
This policy does not impact the Conference’s earlier statement that you may continue to “provide student-athletes with care and support in the areas of academics; medical care; mental health and wellness; and housing, as needed.” Consistent with normal practice, violations of this SEC policy are to be reported to the Conference office and will be subject to penalties at the discretion of the Commissioner. If you have any questions, please contact our office.
In the meantime, Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning made it clear the Bulldogs’ assistant coaches will continue to spend time with family, practice social distancing and encourage fans and players to wash their hands.
— Dan Lanning (@CoachDanLanning) March 27, 2020