Notre Dame officially has a plan to bring its football players back on campus and back into the weight room and training facilities. Its a thorough, lengthy plan aimed at preventing major outbreaks of coronavirus – something we’ve already seen start happening at places like Alabama who already have their football players back on campus. It also involves quarantining the Irish football team in the Morris Inn until the fall semester.
Here’s a rough outline of how Notre Dame plans on bringing back its team.
- Players begin arriving on back on campus on Monday. There will be a 10-day window during which players will return. This includes the 9 scholarship freshmen who did not already enroll at the midterm.
- All players will be quarantined for up to 7 days based on where they are arriving from and how they travel back to Notre Dame (ie drive, fly, etc)
- All players will be housed in individual rooms at the Morris Inn until the fall semester. All meals will also be eaten at the Morris Inn.
- Limited workouts begin on June 22. Initial workouts will be limited to weight lifting and running
- Summer classes continue to be all online until in-person classes start for fall semester (reminder: fall semester starts two weeks early this year)
- Testing for coronavirus will take place for all players between June 15-19. Players will receive both the test for having an active case of coronavirus (nasal swab) and the new antibody testing to see if they have had the virus already.
If any player tests positive, or is experiencing symptoms of the coronavirus, they will be isolated at a separate location away from the Morris Inn.
Once the players start workouts on June 22, there is a three-phased approach that Notre Dame has developed based largely on the number of people involved.
- Phase 1: Groups of 10 or less with limited building occupancy
- Phase 2: Groups of 50 or less with limited building occupancy.
- Phase 3: Unlimited group sizes
With groups of no more than 10 to start, Notre Dame might be able to maintain the SWAT teams they used for off-season workouts. They had nine such teams this off-season so the numbers might be tricky. They might also limit workouts to position groups. Those kind of details, however, won’t be known until we hear from Brian Kelly most likely.
All players will be required to wear masks for all indoor activities – including weight lifting – as they return to workouts.
As expected, once Notre Dame moves out of this initial period of workouts and into training camp (those details are still TBD), they will not travel to Culver Academy as they have the last few years. All training camp activities will take place on Notre Dame’s campus.
It’s clear that Notre Dame has put a lot of thought and effort into this plan, but from the results we’ve seen at places like Alabama and Arkansas State where there was immediately a slew of positive tests, all bets are off once the players arrive and positive tests start happening. And there will be positive tests.
There are still some major hurdles to cross between now and the season, such as what happens when teams enter training camp and contact starts? Those are challenges that Notre Dame’s administration, coaching staff, and medical staff share with every other program in the country, though. They are also challenges for another day. The first step towards a college football season are getting the players back on campus, working out, and being in proximity to each other.