Hok­ies are first in line

Virginia Tech is state D-I leader with plan to be­gin cam­pus work­outs

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SPORTS - BY MIKE BARBER Rich­mond Times-Dis­patch

Virginia Tech foot­ball will be­gin vol­un­tary off­sea­son work­outs this week, uti­liz­ing the team’s in­door and out­door prac­tice fields — an un­der­tak­ing that will in­clude mov­ing equip­ment from the weight room into the team’s in­door prac­tice fa­cil­ity.

Small group work­outs, un­der the su­per­vi­sion of strength coach Ben Hil­gart, will be­gin this week, the school said Mon­day.

The NCAA an­nounced it would per­mit on-cam­pus vol­un­tary work­outs for ath­letes start­ing Mon­day, lift­ing the ban it had placed on all sports ac­tiv­i­ties back in March be­cause of the spread of COVID-19.

“Our fore­most pri­or­ity con­tin­ues to be the health and wel­fare of our stu­dent-ath­letes and staff, as well as the Virginia Tech and sur­round­ing com­mu­ni­ties,” said Dr. Mark Rogers, chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer for Virginia Tech ath­let­ics. “We will con­tinue to eval­u­ate our pro­to­cols to en­sure these work­outs are con­ducted in strict ad­her­ence with cur­rent health and safety guide­lines.”

Per state guide­lines, the work­outs will need to in­clude fewer than 10 ath­letes. Us­ing the in­door prac­tice fa­cil­ity as a weight room, ap­par­ently, al­lows Tech to avoid the pro­hibi

tion on in­door gyms.

The team’s locker room and other com­mon ar­eas re­main closed.

Cam­pus hous­ing at Virginia Tech re­mains closed, but a team spokesman said most of the up­per­class­men live in off-cam­pus apart­ments or houses in the Blacks­burg area. It is pos­si­ble some lim­ited hous­ing on-cam­pus will open later in the sum­mer, po­ten­tially an op­tion for in­com­ing fresh­men.

Ath­letes will have lim­ited en­try and exit points at the Beamer Barn, the

team’s in­door fa­cil­ity, and will be screened be­fore par­tic­i­pat­ing in any work­outs.

Virginia Tech plans to re­sume on-cam­pus ed­u­ca­tion start­ing with re­search and clin­i­cal work this sum­mer, fol­lowed by course in­struc­tion in the fall.

“As our lead­er­ship team con­tin­ues to plan for how our stu­dent-ath­letes will re­turn to com­pe­ti­tion this fall, we rec­og­nize the need for them to have the sup­port and fa­cil­i­ties of­fered by the univer­sity,” Tech Pres­i­dent Tim Sands said in a re­lease. “We are pleased to see our foot­ball play­ers re­turn in small co­horts and fol­low­ing the re­quired pub­lic health guide­lines.”

Virginia Tech be­comes the state’s first Di­vi­sion I pro­gram to an­nounce a plan to be­gin on cam­pus work­outs.

Speak­ing with the lo­cal me­dia last week, Virginia foot­ball coach Bronco Men­den­hall in­di­cated the Cava­liers would not yet be re­turn­ing for vol­un­tary work­outs.

Other pro­grams around the ACC, in­clud­ing Clem­son, Florida State and Ge­or­gia Tech, al­ready have said they will be­gin the on-cam­pus work­outs.


Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente, shown coach­ing the team’s of­fen­sive line­men last Au­gust, will have his play­ers in small group work­outs that are to be con­ducted ac­cord­ing to health and safety guide­lines.

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