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An Update on UCF Athletes Returning to Campus

More football players arrived Monday. But football players will likely be the only athletes on campus for a while

NCAA Football: Florida A&M at Central Florida Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

UCF Athletics set a plan in place last month for when certain athletes would return to campus. It began on June 1 with 60 football players arriving for a week of coronavirus testing and education. As long as those players didn’t test positive for COVID-19 — and three of them did — they were allowed to begin voluntary workouts on June 8.

From there, here is how the plan was supposed to go, per the release from UCF Athletics on May 29:

“Two additional waves of football student-athletes are expected to return to campus—one group of approximately 20 later in June and a third group at an undetermined date after that. Some student-athletes from the men’s and women’s basketball squads are expected to return later in June. The rest of the student-athlete population could possibly return in July for volunteer workouts depending on health conditions and related logistics.”

Approximately 30 more football players did step on campus Monday, according to a UCF Athletics spokesperson. That group will be tested this week and are not eligible to work out along with their other teammates until next Monday, assuming all COVID-19 tests come back negative.

But other portions of this plan have now been delayed.

According to the spokesperson, UCF men’s and women’s basketball players won’t be returning to campus this month, as presented in that initial plan. Now the earliest they will arrive is around the middle of July, but the spokesperson added that those teams are still formulating their specific plans for return. Last week, the NCAA approved for men’s and women’s basketball teams to start summer workouts on July 20.

Student-athletes in the other fall sports such as soccer and volleyball aren’t expected to be back on campus until some point in August.

There will also be no more public notices about athletes testing positive for the coronavirus. UCF Athletics sent out a release on June 9 stating that three football players tested positive upon returning to campus. According to the spokesperson, this received “some pushback” from people inside the football program who didn’t like that those players were being singled out. On Monday, the spokesperson declined to give an update on the status of the three players, saying: “As we move to this next stage, I wouldn’t expect that we are going to get into specifics at this point.”

Part of that next stage involves a publicly available online dashboard that will communicate the positive case numbers on campus. The dashboard will be generic and group anyone who tests positive — students, faculty, staff, etc. — together.

“The decision not to separate specific future UCF Athletics numbers was made in part due to concerns expressed by our student-athletes as to the privacy of personal health information and the potential for public identification of specific individuals, given the small size of many UCF team rosters,” a release from UCF Athletics on Monday stated.

According to Chad Binette, UCF’s assistant vice president of communications, the university anticipates launching the dashboard in July.