Student-athletes welcomed back to campus, athletic department details plan for return to campus

Redshirt Freshman wide receiver Jeremiah Payton leaps to catch the ball during the first day of Miami’s spring training on Wednesday, March 2 at the Greentree Practice Facility.
Redshirt sophomore receiver Jeremiah Payton catches a pass during the first day of Miami’s spring training on Wednesday, March 2 at the Greentree Practice Facility. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

As part of Phase 1 of the athletic department’s plan for UM student-athletes to return to campus, 65 football players currently living in South Florida returned to campus Monday for “voluntary activities” in the Carol Soffer Indoor Practice Facility, Green Tree Practice Fields and the strength and conditioning center.

“We have worked diligently with our colleagues on campus and at UHealth to ensure that we have a plan in place to bring them back safely and securely and that is consistent with the broader University plan,” athletic director Blake James said in a statement Monday.

The athletic department, along with school officials, UHealth and local and state officials, developed a phased-in plan with facility and operational guidelines. These guidelines include:

  • Ability to train and work out while still using current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines
  • Baseline COVID-19 testing (including both PCR and serology testing) prior to engaging in organized activity, as permissible under NCAA legislation, for student-athletes and staff engaged in direct contact with student-athletes
  • Ability to test for COVID-19 when symptomatic
  • Quarantine and isolation protocols
  • Contact tracing
  • Proper education and accommodations for student-athletes and staff
  • Daily screening and temperature checks
  • Return-to-activity protocols for COVID-19 positive cases

After the return of the 65 football student-athletes, the plan involves a “phased return” for the rest of the football team, soccer, volleyball and men’s and women’s basketball teams. After the return of those teams, the rest of Miami’s teams will be permitted to return to campus.

“It has been inspiring to witness the commitment and dedication of our U Family to stay connected to each other throughout this pandemic,” James said. “But there’s no place like the University of Miami and I know everyone is looking forward to getting back to our campus.”

Among the football student-athletes who have returned to campus are graduate transfer quarterback D’Eriq King, redshirt junior quarterback N’Kosi Perry, junior cornerback DJ Ivey, senior cornerback Amari Carter, junior tight end Will Mallory and senior receiver Mike Harley.

Players took to social media on Monday with photos of themselves practicing on the Green Tree practice field. plan also detailed the precautionary measures that are implemented in the athletic facilities, including “expanded hand sanitizer stations and surface disinfection.” Student-athletes, coaches and administrators will be expected to follow social distancing guidelines and remain six feet apart when possible.

No decision has been made on whether the 2020 college football season will continue as normal, but James said he believes Miami will have a football season come fall, but games could be played without fans in the stands.