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CMU football players return for voluntary workouts

Central Michigan football players prepare to run out for practice Sept. 24 at the East Grass Field.

In preparation for the 2020 football season, Central Michigan football players returned to campus on June 15 for voluntary workouts. 

Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press reported the football team was the first to make its way back to campus, the other teams are expected to return at a later date. 

A team spokesman said players were only able to return if their remote coronavirus tests were negative. At this point, the department has not confirmed if any players tested positive. 

Student-athletes who have returned to campus have already returned negative tests and would only test further if anybody exhibits signs of COVID-19. Players, coaches and staff members have been given a symptom checklist to fill out each day, and it remains the person's discretion if they are healthy enough to enter the facility. 

“The health and safety of our students is always our top priority,” CMU Athletic Director Michael Alford said in a statement. “We have been in constant communication and planning with campus partners and health officials in preparation for a return to campus.  We will also follow all state guidelines put in place and all activities will be voluntary as defined by the NCAA.”

At least five players at Alabama tested positive for COVID-19 when they returned while Auburn, also in Alabama, had three players test positive. Several other schools had positive tests and Houston suspended its voluntary workouts after six players tested positive for coronavirus on their return to campus. 

As the workouts have started, players are utilizing single entry and exit points. Also, the department is using additional sanitizer units, capacity limits and warning signs. 

CMU is asking those entering the facility to social distance while the custodial crews are continuing to keep the facility cleaned and sanitized in accordance with CDC guidelines. 

Voluntary workouts are the first of four phases the NCAA College Football Oversight Committee to start the college football season on time. 

The first phase is slated from June 1-25 for voluntary workouts. Team workouts, the second phase, can start July 13 for weight training, conditioning and film study. Walkthroughs and team meetings for 20 hours a week are able to start on July 24. Finally, the preseason practice period — training camp — can start Aug. 7. 

Teams were allowed to bring their student-athletes back to campus June 1 and many will start their voluntary workout programs June 15. 

CMU and other teams kicking off Labor Day weekend are allowed 20 hours with their players per week from July 24-Aug. 6. The hours are divided between six hours of walkthroughs and meetings with eight hours of strength and conditioning work.