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Big 12 Conference approves phased plan for athletes to resume activity on campus

Football student-athletes are the first allowed in campus athletic facilities, starting June 15. Others will be phased in later in the month and into July.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this June 14, 2010, file photo, a Big 12 sign is seen outside the conference headquarters in Irving, Texas. The coronavirus pandemic has shuttered sports at all levels, but all Big 12 schools expect their campuses to be open in the fall, lending hope to the possibility that football can start on time. (AP Photo/Cody Duty, File)

The Big 12 Conference announced via Twitter that its phase-in plan to have student-athletes return to campuses was approved.

The approval allows student athletes to return to campus and engage in "voluntary activities related to sport participation," according to the conference website.

Starting June 15, football players will be allowed in campus athletic facilities and support personnel for voluntary conditioning and training exercises. 

Volleyball, soccer and cross country athletes can return starting July 1, while the rest can return July 15.

"This phased approach is intended to permit gradual adoption of best practices for mitigation of COVID-19 as well as ensuring a safe environment and appropriately prepared facilities," the conference said via its website. "Until these dates, the Conference’s activities policy that was scheduled to sunset May 31 remains in effect for all Big 12 student-athletes."

After finding out about the phased plan for student-athletes, Baylor Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades and Baylor Head Football Coach Dave Aranda responded with their own statements. 

“Our number one goal will always be the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff. With that said, I would like to thank the Big 12 presidents, athletic directors and conference staff for allowing voluntary in-person athletic activity on our campus to begin June 15," Aranda said in his statement. "I would like to say a special thank you to our Director of Athletics Mack Rhoades and Senior Associate AD Kenny Boyd, and many others who have worked tirelessly through this process. This is an important step toward competition and I look forward to welcoming our student-athletes back to campus soon.”

Rhoades said the school's Health and Wellness team has been working with university leaders, conference leaders and local officials to develop a plan allowing athletes, coaches and staff to return. 

 "We will remain diligent in monitoring our various safety procedures and protocols to ensure a healthy and safe environment as we continue to navigate through this pandemic," he said. "We are very encouraged by this step forward and are grateful for the collective work of the Big 12 presidents, athletic directors, medical directors, and the leadership of Commissioner Bowlsby.”

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