Utah State football begins voluntary individual workouts

Utah State coach Gary Andersen cheers to his players during a timeout in the first half of an NCAA college football game against New Mexico on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

The Utah State football team had only two summer practices before its schedule got canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But things will start inching back to normal soon.

Football players were allowed to start voluntary individual workouts at the school’s athletic facilities Monday after the NCAA Division I Council and the Mountain West voted to allow them. Most of the Aggies left Logan once the summer practice schedule was canceled.

Those that return to the USU campus will have to be cleared by medical staff and will be “continuously monitored.” They’ll also “be expected to adhere to a number of safety protocols, consistent with federal and local public health guidelines.”

The university outlined several policies that have to be met in order to return to campus and use its facilities, including weight rooms. The are as follows:

• Student-athletes will be required to do a 14-day quarantine and be tested for COVID-19.

• Signs and symptoms, including temperature checks will be administered to student-athletes and staff upon arrival at the facility each day. Those individuals that have been cleared will be issued wristbands by appropriate medical staff.

• Student-athletes will be required to make an appointment to utilize weight rooms and athletic training facilities, and face coverings will be required when within six feet of others.

• All equipment and facilities will be thoroughly sanitized after each use.

• Locker room facilities will not be available to student-athletes.

The return plan also includes protocols to handle an athlete or staff member testing positive for the novel coronavirus, but those protocols were not detailed.

“These protocols are designed to maintain a low risk for exposure, manage contact tracing at a high level, develop departmental baselines and manageable work groups for those directly working with the student-athletes, and establish a culture of compliance and social awareness to build long-term success,” the university said in a statement.

Student-athletes in other sports will return to campus later this summer under this plan. If the first phase succeeds, subsequent phases will allow for larger groups.

The reopening news came on the same day the Aggies announced an addition their schedule. USU will play Mississippi State on Sept. 14, 2024 for the first time ever.