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More UCF Athletes are Returning to Campus

An update on UCF Athletics’ fall and winter programs; Football is on schedule, but basketball’s comeback date remains TBD

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 07 AAC Women’s Tournament - Wichita v UCF Photo by M. Anthony Nesmith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

One month ago, the UCF Knights football team welcomed 30 more players to campus for COVID-19 tests, instruction and workouts, bringing the total number of players on campus to 90.

Football players have been the only student-athletes on campus since the beginning of June, but that changed this week as some other fall-sport athletes have come back, and more are scheduled to arrive on Monday, July 27.

Here is an update on the current state of UCF’s football, soccer, volleyball and cross country teams.

Football:

Everything is “on schedule,” according to a UCF Athletics spokesperson. After more than a month of voluntary workouts, the Knights did progress into the mandatory portion of their summer activities at the beginning of last week. Their summer program will reach another stage either today or Friday when they can begin holding walk-through practices. This will lead into training camp on Aug. 6 and on to the season-opener versus the North Carolina Tar Heels, which, yes, is still scheduled as of this writing.

For the next four teams mentioned, there are two important dates to note. The first is when athletes are scheduled to return to campus for COVID-19 testing and physicals. The second is the first day they are permitted to practice with coaches present.

Women’s Soccer: July 20/Aug. 4

Men’s Soccer: July 27/Aug. 12

Volleyball: July 27/Aug. 10

Cross Country: Aug. 3/Aug. 16

The first week back for all players is basically an administrative week, with a lot of testing, instruction and waiting around as those test results come in. Those who pass all of the required medical tests will be allowed to start working out in the on-campus facilities the following week.

However, there is a sword of Damocles hanging above all Olympic fall sports, and it might plunge a fateful blow as soon as Friday. The NCAA Board of Governors could vote on that day to cancel the fall's NCAA-sponsored championships, which includes essentially everything outside of FBS football. That cancellation could give individual conferences cover to possibly postpone the entire seasons of some sports.

Plus, the American Athletic Conference announced Wednesday that it is delaying the start of fall competition until Sept. 1. That impacts each of these four teams. Although none of them had yet to release an official schedule, their respective seasons usually commence in late August. It is unknown if Wednesday's announcement from the AAC will lead to a change in any team’s reporting or practice schedule.

Basketball:

There is also a scant bit of news regarding a winter sport. The UCF men’s and women’s basketball teams are still away from campus. The spokesperson said a return date is “still being discussed.” College basketball’s summer access period began Monday as student-athletes and coaches were allowed to be on the court together for the first time since March.

UCF basketball players were previously expected to return in June and then, after that first date was scratched, around mid-July. But the sense is that both coaching staffs have been comfortable with what their players are able to do away from campus and there isn’t much urgency for them to report.