411OnTheForty: Basketball, volleyball begin return to campus

08 Jul By

By Riley Zayas

The onboarding process began Monday to allow Texas men's and women's basketball and volleyball players back on campus to begin voluntary workouts at the athletics facilities. Soccer and cross country athletes were scheduled to begin the process July 1.

Players are tested for Covid-19 and must follow a detailed protocol laid out by the athletic department should any of the athletes test positive. The Big 12 also released a protocol and set of dates to begin various sports in the fall, although, that plan is currently in question with this rapidly-changing situation. Things such as the test results from athletes and coaches will come into play as well as college sports attempt to proceed forwards.

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In mid-June, after the football team was allowed back on campus to begin individual voluntary workouts, Texas announced 13 players either had tested positive or were presumed to have had Covid-19. But workouts were not shut down, and the athletics department has decided to move forward with Phase Two of its plan to get athletes back on campus with the basketball and volleyball teams.

UT officials are not alone in the desire to minimize cases, and have committed to taking all precautions necessary to limit those chances, such as prohibiting coaches from being at the workouts for the time being, and requiring athletes to remain socially distant, only working out individually.

Athletic director and vice president Chris Del Conte told Longhorn nation in his weekly "Forty Acres Insider" that "we’ve been really pleased with how things have gone thus far with the return of our football coaching and essential support staff, as well as the on-boarding and management of voluntary workouts for our Football team. We couldn’t be more grateful for the extensive efforts that (deputy athletics director) Shawn Eichorst and our Return to Forty task forces put in to establish Covid-19 policies and procedures that have proven to be very effective."

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Riley Zayas is a high school sophomore and freelance journalist from Round Rock, Texas. He began his journalism career as a Sports Illustrated Kids reporter and has since become a regular contributor to Horns Illustrated, covering Texas Longhorn sports. His work also includes Fellowship of Christian Athletes publications, his personal blog 360 Sports, College Baseball Nation and Sports Spectrum, a national christian sports website. Twitter: @ZayasRiley