Kirk Ferentz Northwestern Huddle

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa announced on Friday plans for returning its football and basketball teams back to campus. Coaches and staff were expected to kick things off on June 1.

Concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic shut down campus and all athletic facilities in the middle of March. The NCAA Basketball Tournaments, National Wrestling Championships and all spring sports were canceled.

Last week, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds began reopening parts of the state that had been shut down. She began another phase on Friday that cleared the way for most operations in the state.

The University of Iowa’s pilot program begins with The Carver College of Medicine (CCOM), which will return to modified daily operations beginning Tuesday. It is putting in place health and safety guidelines.

A press release by the University of Iowa outlined how a return to campus by athletic teams would take place. In part, it read:

Iowa’s Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will begin returning select coaches and staff on June 1, 2020. Football student athletes who choose to participate in voluntary workouts will return beginning June 8, 2020, and Men’s and Women’s Basketball student athletes beginning on June 15, 2020. Student athletes will participate in a formal clearance process for the return to voluntary practice. The process will follow NCAA, B1G, and campus best-practices and supervised by UI Health Care medical staff.

Athletics continues to finalize its health and safety guidelines, but like CCOM will include measures to lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19 such as:

  • Use of protective equipment and hygiene (face covers, face shields, hand washing, and use of hand sanitizer).
  • Public space configuration supporting social distancing.
  • Limited occupancy of buildings and spaces.
  • Revised operations (transportation, purchasing, package delivery, and custodial services) necessary to minimize exposure to COVID-19.

HN spoke with the parents of some Iowa football players this week, gauging their feelings on sending their children back to campus.