CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — About 40 Illinois football players returned to the Smith Football Center and Memorial Stadium on Monday for the first time in nearly three months. They are the first Illini athletes to officially be back on campus since COVID-19 canceled all games and practices for the spring semester in March. The remaining Illini athletes will be brought back at different times, staggered throughout the rest of the summer and year.
All athletes returning to the University of Illinois will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing and initial quarantining before they are clear to begin voluntary workouts. All staff members who are in direct contact with athletes will also be required to undergo testing as well. Testing will continue throughout the summer and school year. In a release sent out to media on Monday, no coronavirus test totals will be made public. Several schools across the country have released positive case numbers, without names, upon athletes returning to campus.
The return protocol includes initial and ongoing viral and antibody testing, contact tracing and arrangements for extended quarantine and care of any student-athlete testing positive for COVID-19. The first workouts in football and men’s basketball are likely to occur in the second or third week of June.