UCF football fans have had September 4 circled on their calendars for a long time. Now they can make note of another significant date: August 6. That’s when the UCF Knights can begin their 29-day preseason practice period — in other words, training camp — leading up to their season-opening game versus the North Carolina Tar Heels.
On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council approved a college football preseason model, which calls for the preseason practice period to begin August 7 for those teams scheduled to start their season on Saturday, September 5. Since the Knights play their first game on the day prior, their preseason practice period can begin one day earlier. Teams are required to complete at least the usual 29-day preseason before playing games.
Under the approved model, college football teams would have two separate segments of “Summer Access” workouts. The first segment may begin 25 days prior to a team’s preseason practice period. Here is what that would mean for UCF:
July 12-22: UCF can hold mandatory workouts during this 11-day segment. Student-athletes may engage in eight hours per week of weight training, conditioning and film review. However, they can not exceed more than two hours of film review per week.
July 23-August 5: During this two-week second segment, student-athletes may continue to do training, conditioning and film review as stated above. But the Knights will also be permitted unpadded walk-through practices with the use of a football for up to one hour per day and six hours per week. They will also be allowed to hold team, position and one-on-one meetings for up to one hour per day and six days per week. Two days off are required during this period.
The implementation of walk-throughs with a football and the ability to have meetings during this time is a new addition to college football’s usual preseason calendar. They were recommended by the NCAA Oversight Committee last week to help teams make up for the preparation time that was lost during spring football season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
August 6: The start of UCF’s 29-day preseason practice period, during which the Knights can hold 25 practices.
Sixty UCF football players returned to campus on June 1 for voluntary workouts, which began June 8. UCF Athletics announced last week that three players tested positive for COVID-19 upon their return and are in a 14-day quarantine. Those voluntary workouts may continue for up to eight hours per week until the first “Summer Access” segment begins.
And thus, we are that much closer to having some college football back in our lives. Who knows what might change between now and then as we are still in the midst of a pandemic. We can only hope this model holds.