LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — USC football players and athletes in five other sports will begin a “phased return to campus” Wednesday for voluntary workouts.
Besides football, men and women’s basketball, women’s soccer, women’s volleyball and men’s water polo will also be part of the initial return to campus for workouts. Because the workouts are voluntary, Director of Athletics Mike Bohn says student-athletes who don’t take part will not face reductions in financial aid.READ MORE: Hart High School Investigating Threat Scrawled In Campus Restroom
“We approached this process with extreme patience, prudence, and the utmost regard for the health and safety of our student-athletes, taking time to learn from the experiences of our peers to refine our plans and processes,” Bohn said in a statement. “After a devastating few months, we are thrilled for them that they will be able to come back to campus to do what they love and continue their preparation for their upcoming seasons.”
The initial phase will be open only to students within an hour’s driving distance of USC because on-campus housing will not be available during this phase.
In phase two, which is targeted for July 6, non-local student athletes in these sports will be allowed to return to campus for workouts and stay in USC’s on-campus housing. Phase three, which is scheduled to begin July 13, will see new and in-coming student-athletes join the workouts.READ MORE: 16-Year-Old Ricardo Ramirez Shot To Death On Compton Street
Students who want to return to the campus for the voluntary workouts will be required to take part in a COVID-19 health and safety protocol information session, sign a risk and shared responsibility acknowledgement form, pass their annual physical and undergo COVID-19 testing, which will be followed by weekly tests.
USC says anyone who visits their athletic facilities will also be required to have their temperatures checked, wear face coverings, practice physical distancing, sanitize their hands, wear a daily wristband indicating approved entry and stay in their assigned areas. Locker rooms, showers, players’ lounges, and certain floors in the McKay Center, Galen Center and Heritage Hall will also be inaccessible.
Players will find some major changes to their workouts. The university’s McKay Center weight room will be accessible by appointment only, and the area will be divided into two, with a limit of eight players in any area at one time. Field workouts will be allowed only with proper distancing, and all meetings with coaches will be virtual through the end of June.MORE NEWS: Woman Killed After Prius Slams Into Semi-Truck In Van Nuys
Essential staff — like strength coaches, athletic trainers, equipment managers, facilities/operations staff — will also be allowed to return USC’s athletic facilities during this time. USC says they will all undergo COVID-19 testing.