Athletics directors and coaches have been planning how they wanted to run their voluntary summer programs, they just needed to know when they would be allowed to implement them.

The University Interscholastic League announced summer activities could start June 8 and set strict guidelines Friday that emphasize the safety of students and coaches.

“I’m excited. The safety of our student-athletes is our main concern and we’re going through with how we can make this work with that as our priority,” Columbia Athletics Director Brent Mascheck said. “We’re going to have to slowly get back to it, and I think the UIL came out with some great guidelines.”

The UIL is working toward getting schools in a position to get back to normalcy, and the guidelines announced Friday is the first step toward it.

“We are cautiously optimistic about beginning summer strength and conditioning programs and marching band practices that safely allow students to get back to working with their coaches and directors in preparation for the 2020-2021 school year,” UIL Executive Director Dr. Charles Breithaupt said in a news release.

“While we are eager to resume UIL activities, we must do so carefully, deliberately and with an understanding that major adjustments are needed to ensure safety.”

Limitations for summer strength and conditioning include sessions lasting no more than two hours per day, no specific sports skills can be taught, students can participate in only one session per day Monday through Friday and all equipment must be disinfected thoroughly before and after each use.

For sport-specific instruction, a student can’t attend more than 90 minutes a day per session and no more than 60 minutes per day for any given sport; instructors may use specific sports equipment, but contact equipment is not allowed; there can be no competitive drills; and all equipment has to be disinfected before and after each use.

Outdoors activities can have groups no larger than 15 people and indoor activities can be no larger than 10 students for sport-specific instruction.

For both categories, sessions have to be conducted by school coaches in grades seventh through 12 from that coach’s attendance zone and workout stations must be spaced out at least 10 feet apart in all directions, per UIL guidelines.

“I think it’s the first step that UIL is taking and hopefully everyone is on the same page and follows the same guidelines,” Sweeny Athletics Director Randy Lynch said. “We’ll meet as a staff next week and see what direction we want to go and get what workouts we want to do and conduct the strength and conditioning camp we want to have.”

The immediate task is getting the word out to the kids and parents and making sure safety is the No. 1 priority, Lynch said.

Though being able to have a high school football season is many people’s priority, it is not the only sport gearing back up.

“Getting the kids out the house will be good news,” Brazosport cross country coach Robert Nicoll said. “Kids need to have something to do and this will be good for them — being able to have something to look forward to.”

Brazoport ISD is working to ensure all its coaches are on the same page both for summer strength and conditioning as well as the sport-specific instruction.

“We’re excited we’re going to be able to have it and get our kids back and in shape for the upcoming season,” Athletics Director Alan Weddell said.

He plans on letting everyone get a good comprehension of the guidelines over the weekend before planning their workouts and instructional periods, Weddell said. He then will huddle with the athletics directors and trainers at Brazoswood and Brazosport high schools in advance of the June 8 start date, he said.

For information on the guidelines, download them from this story at thefacts.com.

Marqus Williams is a sports writer for The Facts. You can contact him at 979-237-0161.

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