Illinois prepares to return athletes to campus


CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) –Illinois athletes could be returning to campus and begin training as early as June 3rd. The Illinois Department of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) announced on Friday morning that some athletes will be able to come back under strict guidelines.

The DIA’s plan will include initial and ongoing testing of COVID-19, contact tracing, and neceassry quarantines. Football and men’s basketball athletes are scheduled as the first to arrive in small groups. Illinois athletic director Josh Whitman says he plans for returning athletes to arrive first, followed by incoming freshman. They also hope to have women’s basketball, soccer, and volleyball athletes on campus in July.

“It’s something we’ve been working on for many weeks, we’ve had a lot of collaborations, and conversations with many experts,” says Whitman. “We’re able to steal ideas with organizations are able to do the same things. If we can provide some little colonels of hope over these next few weeks, months, they will lead up to the kickoff of a football game, or the first serve of a volleyball match–to me, that’s pretty exciting. I hope people would view this can be an encouraging step that can could give them a little ray of light at the end of the tunnel.”

The plan follows the timeline of the NCAA, which recently approved voluntary workouts to resume on college campuses as of June 1st. Illinois’ plan also follows the guidance of several professional organizations including the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District, Carle physicians, and the Illinois Sports Medicine Department. The DIA will also follow safety measures borrowed from organizations like the NFL and the NBA. That includes daily symptom checking, locker room procedures, and proper facility and equipment usage, etc.

They’re have been no official decisions made on the fall sports season.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.