College football's return has been set. The NCAA Division I Council announced Wednesday that it has approved a four-phase plan proposed by the NCAA College Football Oversight Committee last week for sporting activities to begin in mid-July.
The committee recommended that coaches begin interacting with players on July 13 with training camp starting on Aug. 7. Those dates will each be pushed up a week for the handful of teams competing in Week 0.
Testing for the coronavirus is still largely a conference-by-conference enterprise as is the possibility of coaches possibly having to wear facemasks on the sideline during games.
2020 preseason college football calendar
Voluntary and virtual non-physical activities
July 13 onward
Weight training, conditioning, film review
July 24 onward
Walkthroughs, team meetings
20 hours per week up from 8 hours
Aug. 7 onward
Preseason practice period
Programs kicking off Labor Day weekend, the traditional Week 1, will be allowed 20 hours with players per week from July 24-August 6. Those are divided up between six hours of walk throughs, six hours of meetings and eight hours of strength and conditioning work. The period beginning July 13 is referred to as "summer access," which gives players the ability to work without coaches.
Any extension of the regular season would require a change in NCAA legislation. The 2020 season is scheduled to end Dec. 5 with the Army-Navy Game taking place the following week.
Extending the four-game redshirt rule is a consideration that may come at a later date. There was some thought that, in order to address possible depth issues, players could potentially play more than four games and still retain that year of eligibility.
The committee has not yet addressed the issue of fans in the stands. Attendance restrictions could be determined by the conferences.
The guidelines include a requirement for teams to practice for four weeks before playing their first game. If teams aren't able to get that much practice, the FBS commissioners have basically already spoken: The 10 conferences may not be in sync in terms of starting on time. Within those conferences, not all the teams may be on the same page, either.
Schools were allowed to have athletes back on campus June 1. Several schools began voluntary workouts last Monday. Most programs have already begun voluntary workouts.