In the quest to resume normalcy in college athletics there was some positive news for the Gators on Friday as dates were announced for each group of athlete to return to campus.
The SEC had ruled that voluntary activities could resume whenever a program desired but to ensure maximum safety of their students and staff Florida had held off consulting medical professionals for insight of how to do things in the best possible manner.
For basketball, returning players will be back on June 29th while new players can come on July 1st.
Upon returning to campus they will receive testing before being permitted to resume training. Once training begins, players will get a temperature check each day as well as receive consultation on what symptoms to watch out for. In terms of activities, every available precaution will be taken to ensure proper distance and cleanliness can be observed to keep players safe.
With these dates in place it’s looking like the offseason won’t actually be interrupted badly for players after a turbulent last few months left everyone wondering. Last year’s season may have been cut short but right now it’s looking like basketball players will be returning to campus at a regular time and training won’t be awfully impacted.
Functionally speaking the Gators, with so many returning and veteran players, should be better equipped to handle an atypical offseason than a team that is trying to integrate a bunch of new talent. Additionally, the Gators have one of the best strength and conditioning coaches in the country in Preston Greene and having a legend in the business as experienced as him should really help. He will know exactly what way to develop this team physically despite the current restraints and his creativity and knowledge will be a huge advantage over some other SEC teams with younger strength and conditioning coaches.
What is unknown is when the team will be allowed to resume something resembling normal, on court basketball, and least in the team sense of the game. Players will be on the floor getting shots up and doing drills but it’s unknown when they’ll be allowed to play five on five in a game that requires close physical contact.
The benefit for college basketball as a whole is that it gets to see what football does first before plans for the regular season have to be addressed. Obviously football comes first and how they handle things in the early fall will have a huge impact on how basketball decides to address things. Additionally, the much larger roster and staff will make things much more difficult for football and if they are able to figure out a way to safely make that sport work things should translate more easily to basketball, a game played with much smaller groups.
The season is still a long, long ways away but this news is encouraging as we look towards what could be a really good Florida basketball season.