Georgia Tech moving to second phase of voluntary workout program

A close-up of a football used at Georgia Tech practice. (Ken Sugiura/AJC)

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A close-up of a football used at Georgia Tech practice. (Ken Sugiura/AJC)

After an evidently safe start to its voluntary workout program this week, Georgia Tech will move into the second phase of its plan beginning June 29. It continues Tech’s progression towards resuming competition after the coronavirus pandemic halted athletics activities in mid-March.

The athletic department made the announcement Thursday night.

In Phase 2, all Yellow Jackets football and men’s and women’s basketball team members will be permitted to return to resume on-campus training.

In the first phase, only Tech athletes residing in the Atlanta area have been permitted to participate. In the second phase, on-campus housing will be made available, which will enable football and basketball athletes living outside of the Atlanta area to join in training, which will continue to be voluntary.

The first phase also has permitted only returning Yellow Jackets athletes to take part. In the second phase, incoming freshmen and transfers for the three teams can participate. Also, incoming freshmen on Tech’s other varsity teams living in the Atlanta area will also be able to train.

Further, after the first phase has limited athletes to weight rooms and training rooms, more facilities will be opened up for usage, such as batting cages, practice fields and courts and Griffin Track. The workouts will continue to be voluntary and may not be observed by sport-specific coaches or staff.

At the athletic association board’s quarterly meeting Thursday, athletic director Todd Stansbury told board members that the first phase has been important to “pressure test our protocols,” such as daily screening, temperature checks and the usage of sanitizers.

“So far, things have gone extremely well,” Stansbury said. “We’ve got to be really on top of things. I think we all realize that we’ve got a lot riding on this because we’ve got to crawl before we can walk and walk before we can run. But there’s no room for error.”

>> How voluntary workout plan came together

In Phase 2, protocols established in Phase 1 will continue, such as COVID-19 testing for all athletes prior to their arrival on campus, daily temperature checks, a maximum group size of 10 athletes and two staff and thorough sanitization of all equipment and facilities after each use.

Across the industry landscape, the process of resuming college athletics competition has been an unsteady process.

For instance, Texas announced Thursday that 13 football players tested positive for COVID-19 or were presumed positive and that another 10 were self-isolating following contact tracing.

Kansas State announced Wednesday that eight out of 130 athletes had tested positive.

At the same time, the NCAA Division I Council approved a plan on Wednesday to begin summer football training on July 13 and for men's and women's basketball teams to initiate required summer workouts starting July 20.

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