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CU Buffs won’t hold football practice before June

Pac-12 Conference extends suspension of team-related activities through May 31

Boulder, CO – April 27, 2019: Alex Fontenot spins away from Jalen Sami during the 2019 CU Football Spring Game on April 27, 2019. (Photo by Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
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The Colorado Buffaloes won’t be on the football field together until at least June.

On Monday, the Pac-12 Conference extended its suspension of all team-related activities through May 31. On March 14, the conference had suspended activities through Sunday.

The Pac-12 decision came after a meeting with conference CEOs.

Key points to the suspension include:

  • No organized, in-person team activities of any type.
  • No in-person voluntary workouts, film study sessions, meetings, technique drills or practices of any type.
  • No virtual or online supervised voluntary workouts and skill instruction.
  • Virtual group activities, including film study, are permitted for up to two hours per week in football and four hours per week in other sports. The Pac-12 is appealing the NCAA to increase the two-hour limit in football.
  • Coaches are allowed to recommend written, self-directed workout plans, as well as taped demonstration videos on workout plans.
  • In-person, on-campus nutrition can be provided to those student-athletes who are unable to leave campus. Off campus nutrition (ex. vitamins, protein powder, shake mixes, protein bars) can be distributed, as well.
  • Non-athletically related support to student-athletes, including sports medicine, physical therapy, academic support; and mental health and wellness is permitted.
  • Schools may provide off-campus student-athletes with apparel and personal equipment that is regularly available when they are on campus.
  • The press release from the Pac-12 said that the CEO group will regularly meet to “assess changing circumstances and to make shared decisions regarding amendments to the above-listed policies.”

Earlier this month, the Pac-12 canceled all spring sports competitions for the remainder of the school year, but not practices.

Monday’s announcement eliminates the possibility of CU having spring practices in women’s soccer, volleyball and football.

Under the direction of first-year head coach Karl Dorrell, the Buffs’ football team was originally scheduled to start spring practices on March 16. The Buffs are one of three Pac-12 teams who did not get a chance to start spring football practice – along with Washington and Washington State. Southern California had just one practice before shutting down.

During a conference call with media last week, Dorrell said he and his staff have discussed several possibilities for when practice might occur.

“None of them are etched in stone, but we’ve got to be ready for it at any moment,” he said.

In addition to the players going through remote learning academically, Dorrell said, “We’ll do some football work, as well, to keep them engaged in what we’re doing until we’re able to practice, which we don’t have any idea when that would happen, when we’ll get a chance to practice.”

During a conference call with media on March 17, athletic director Rick George was asked if spring football could occur in May or June and he said, “That’s a possibility. We certainly would push for that, given a new staff and the preparedness for the upcoming year, but again we’ll have those discussions with the right people both at the conference level and the national level.”

May practice is now officially off the table, with June 1 being the first possible date for football return.

Dorrell said several times last week, however, that the health of the country is the top concern and that the Buffs will deal with whatever changes come next.

“The season doesn’t really begin until September, so we’re hoping to get some positive solutions and answers, hopefully in the next couple months,” he said. “I feel that whether it’s going to be abbreviated from the onset or during, I’m not sure, but I think all of us that run these programs will be ready to accept and go by whatever is given at that point in time.”