Ole Miss AD hopes student-athletes can return by July 1st

The sports world remains at a standstill in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, and fans across the country – especially in SEC Country – are hoping that the college football season can begin on time. 

During a conference call Tuesday, Ole Miss AD Keith Carter was asked about the process of reopening facilities and getting student-athletes back on campus as it relates to the timeline for the 2020 season. Currently, ‘Week 0’ of the college football season is set for August 29th and Ole Miss is scheduled to begin the Lane Kiffin era against Baylor in Houston on September 5th.

The COVID-19 pandemic has already taken spring practice off the table for teams across the nation, and Carter stated that students likely need to be back on campus by July 1st to keep things on track for the fall.

“That July 1st date is kind of standing out. If we get too far past that it’s going to be hard maybe to start on time,” Carter said. 

Mississippi is beginning the process of reopening its economy as the Governor’s ‘safer-at-home’ continues, and neighboring states like Georgia and Tennessee are ramping up their efforts to reopen. While he remains optimistic, Carter did discuss the challenges the SEC faces with the virus affecting each state differently. 

Carter’s full response can be read below: 

“We have 11 states in the footprint of the SEC. What we would love to do, and really what we’ve done since about March 13 when all this started, is we’ve made a lot of decisions at the conference level that have affected all institutions and all athletic departments. 

We would love to continue to do that, but we also know that just based on the cases and where the states are with COVID and those types of things some are going to open up sooner than others. 

We’re seeing Tennessee opening up restaurants and Georgia is also opening up. We have to talk about that and we have to be equitable, but we’re talking on our campus about a way to get our student-athletes back on campus for the summer. 

That’s important for us because we want to get the fall started on time and that’s our goal. We have got to get our students back and get them back in shape. That July 1st date is kind of standing out. If we get too far past that it’s going to be hard maybe to start on time. 

We’re looking at some things there, but this thing is so everchanging and evolving, it changes every single day. We’re just trying to think about all scenarios and trying to get students back. We’re going to get them back eventually. We just have to make sure we’re doing it the right way. I know our students are ready to get back and our coaches are ready to get their hands on them for sure.”

Elsewhere in the world of sports, the NBA recently announced that teams can tentatively allow players to use training facilities for individual workouts beginning May 8th, but no date has been scheduled for the season to resume. Major League Baseball has yet to start its 2020 season, but the league is reportedly targeting a late-June date to get underway without fans in the stands.