Illinois AD Josh Whitman talks plan to return Illini student-athletes to campus
Illinois made a big announcement on Friday, saying it will begin to allow student-athletes in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball back on campus beginning as early as June 3. The news came just a few days after the NCAA opted to lift its moratorium on organized team activities beginning June 1.
On Friday, Illinois Athletic Director Josh Whitman spoke with the media regarding Illinois’ plan to return student-athletes to campus. It will be a gradual process, but the next phase in the athletic department’s plan to get players back.
- Whitman says the announcement on Friday was the “next step in the advancement process.”
- Participation is completely voluntary for student-athletes, and wants them to make the decision based on what’s best for their health and safety.
- Workouts for football and men’s basketball are expected to begin on or around June 11, with players arriving between June 3 and June 8.
- 6-8 football players will be allowed in the Smith Center weight room at the same time. Capacity was previously at 45.
- Whitman says the infection possibility and risk will always be there, but there are arrangements in plans in place if/when an individual does test positive for COVID-19.
- Whitman did not have a comment on fan experiences for the upcoming sports seasons at this time.
- Student-athletes and parents have been primarily enthusiastic about the return to campus. He says “All of us long for a return to normalcy.”