Richmond Times-Dispatch - - SPORTS - Jo­con­nor@times­dis­patch.com (804) 649-6233 @RTDjohno­con­nor

Tay­lor, the for­mer VUU, Hamp­ton and Florida A&M coach who was in­ducted to the Col­lege Foot­ball Hall of Fame last year, said his cau­tious ap­proach is re­lated not only to stu­dent-ath­letes. He thinks about pro­fes­sors, bus driv­ers, sup­port per­son­nel, coaches, ad­min­is­tra­tors, ath­letic train­ers and over­all stu­dent pop­u­la­tions as he con­tem­plates when it might be safe for col­lege sports to re­turn in the ab­sence of a vac­cine.

“It does have such far­reach­ing im­pact,” said Tay­lor, 70.

The Divi­sion II CIAA, to which VUU and Vir­ginia State be­long, held a meet­ing Mon­day after­noon to dis­cuss the na­tional health cri­sis and eval­u­ate op­tions for ath­let­ics dur­ing the com­ing school year. Later in June, an­other league meet­ing will be held to try to at­tach some clar­ity to the fall sports sit­u­a­tion.

The NCAA on May 20 an­nounced that Divi­sion II schools could qual­ify for the foot­ball post­sea­son by play­ing as few as seven games. VUU and

VSU each have 10 games cur­rently sched­uled.

In the CIAA, teams play seven league games, and Tay­lor called a seven-game VUU reg­u­lar sea­son that would be­gin in late Septem­ber or early Oc­to­ber “not ideal, but what we’re liv­ing in is not ideal. I think [seven games] would be a good con­ver­sa­tion.”

Apart from the coro­n­avirus threat, Tay­lor as a for­mer coach is also very aware of the phys­i­cal well-be­ing re­quired to safely par­tic­i­pate in col­lege foot­ball. Play­ers have not been in­volved in su­per­vised strength-and­con­di­tion­ing pro­grams since mid-March. He ap­pre­ci­ates that they’ve been work­ing out on their own, but said, “It’s not the same, and we know that. So safety is an is­sue.”

Tay­lor’s VUU teams went 60-19-3 from 1984 to 1991, with three trips to the Divi­sion II play­offs. He moved to Hamp­ton, which Tay­lor led to a record of 136-49-1 from 1992 to 2007. Tay­lor’s Pi­rates had one los­ing sea­son, ad­vanced to the Divi­sion II play­offs twice and the Divi­sion I-AA (FCS) play­offs five times. He com­pleted his coach­ing ca­reer in 2012 at Florida

A&M, where his FCS Rat­tlers went 35-19.

At Divi­sion III Ran­dolph-Ma­con, ath­let­ics di­rec­tor Jeff Burns be­lieves the school’s ad­min­is­tra­tion is about a month away from a de­fin­i­tive plan re­gard­ing foot­ball and other fall sports.

“What I find in ath­let­ics is, you give us the pa­ram­e­ters and we’ll fig­ure out a way to make it work for our play­ers in a safe way, at the high­est level we can,” said Burns, R-MC’s AD for a decade.

The Yel­low Jack­ets have a 10-game foot­ball sched­ule, with eight of them ODAC con­tests. The NCAA on May 29 an­nounced that Divi­sion III foot­ball pro­grams be­cause of the pan­demic im­pact could qual­ify for the post­sea­son tour­na­ment by play­ing as few as five games.

Ad­di­tion­ally, the NCAA limited Divi­sion II men’s and women’s bas­ket­ball teams to 22 reg­u­lar-sea­son games in the com­ing school year in re­sponse to ef­fects of the coro­n­avirus. VUU and VSU, men and women, played be­tween 25 and 28 (15 each in CIAA com­pe­ti­tion) last sea­son.

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