Hokies are first in line
Virginia Tech is state D-I leader with plan to begin campus workouts
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.