Pitt Football to Begin Phased Return to Practice in June 8

Per the Pitt SID

PITTSBURGH—In alignment with the University of Pittsburgh’s overall planning process, the Pitt Athletic Department will welcome football student-athletes back to campus on June 8 for a phased return to voluntary offseason activities, Director of Athletics Heather Lyke announced today.

The Panthers’ offseason model, which concludes with an anticipated August training camp, was formed using guidance from University health experts, as well as local, national and international health agencies.

Upon return, each student-athlete will undergo a period of quarantine, which serves as the initial phase of the Panthers’ offseason model. Those student-athletes who are medically cleared may then participate in the next phase of workout sessions supervised by Pitt’s strength and training staff (limited to a maximum of 10 student-athletes).

Throughout each offseason phase, the following protocols will be implemented and strictly observed:

  • Substantial education for all coaches and student-athletes on Pitt’s safety protocols and their responsibility for maintaining them
  • A testing protocol developed with input from infectious disease experts and other medical professionals
  • Significantly enhanced cleaning protocols for all athletic facilities
  • Mandatory daily screening questionnaire and temperature check for student-athletes and staff
  • Utilization of personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimize exposure and potential virus spread
  • Social distancing guidelines for meetings and workouts, as well as strategic use of smaller groups for strength and conditioning sessions
  • Contact tracing course completion by all athletics training staff members

“Preparation for the safe return of our student-athletes, beginning with football on June 8, has been a comprehensive team effort,” Lyke said. “Our athletic department has worked diligently with University leadership and medical experts using one guiding principle: the health and well-being of our student-athletes and staff. Our current climate dictates that we stay vigilant and flexible in response to fluid circumstances. However, thanks to the efforts of many outstanding medical professionals, we are confident in our campus return plan.”

“Our football program is incredibly fortunate to have world-class medical experts and resources at our immediate disposal,” Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi said. “We are taking their guidance and advice every step of the way for every activity we’ll engage in this offseason and beyond.”

The Pitt football program’s last team workout took place on March 6, which marked the third of its 15 scheduled spring practice sessions. However, the balance of spring football drills were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pitt Athletics will utilize a staggered and phased return to offseason participation for each of its 19 intercollegiate programs. Like football, the other teams will progress through various phases of advancing exposure to training, teammate interaction and sport participation. Return times for the Panthers’ other student-athletes will be announced at a later date.

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