Texas State Athletics began phase 1 of its plan to return to in-person activities June 1 with precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. During a webinar June 5, members of the committee went into detail and answered questions about the plan.
The resocialization plan, developed by the Continuity of Intercollegiate Athletics Work Group Committee, will take place in three phases. The committee’s members include President Denise Trauth and Athletic Director Larry Teis.
The group worked in coordination with NCAA, Sun Belt Conference and federal, state and local governments. Teis, who served as co-chair, said the group listened to health experts and followed the guidance, with athletes, coaches and staff coming first.
“Our number one priority is the general health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches, and staff, and all of these precautions include recommendations by Dr. Carranco, and Dr. Bryant Frazier, Texas State Sports Medicine Coordinator,” Teis said.
Phase one of the plan allows 53 football athletes to participate in voluntary workouts in groups of 10 or less with certain precautions and will only allow Bobcat Stadium to remain open.
These precautions include a 14-day isolation period prior to participating in workouts, entrance to facilities only through controlled areas, a temperature check upon entry, symptom screening, required face masks, physical distancing and limited occupancy of facilities. Precautions will also apply to coaches and staff.
Head Football Coach Jake Spavital said the football program will operate with an abundance of caution with hopes of keeping everyone involved—athletes, coaches and staff—safe.
“We are implementing protocols and guidelines that are safe [in] making sure that we are doing the right things,” Spavital said. “Everyone is excited to get back and doing things, but we are very cautious about how we do it…we may have some things out there we may not like, so we will have to adjust on the run, but we have it down to a good plan to keep everybody in a safe environment.”
Phase two of the plan will begin June 15 and will allow the men’s and women’s basketball teams to begin group workouts. Football will also bring in an additional 10-20 players. In this phase, groups are not to exceed 50 people.
Beginning June 28, limited individual skill and contact workouts involving the use of shared equipment will be allowed. In addition to Bobcat Stadium, the University Events Center will be open for workouts.
Assuming the first two phases are successful, phase three will begin July 6, and all other sports will be allowed to conduct voluntary workouts in small groups.
Social distancing will still be required in phase three. Most athletic facilities will be open, but locker rooms will remain closed until the beginning of the team’s camp or the beginning of the fall semester.
Spavital hopes to have the entire football roster participating in workouts between July 22-27.
Travis Comer, Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director, expressed confidence about the effectiveness of the safety protocols outlined in the plan. He said two athletes who appeared to show symptoms of COVID-19 were sent home but later tested negative for the virus.
“We feel really good about the protocol we put in place and the safety measures to keep our student-athletes health and wellbeing safe,” Comer said.
Precautions are still being developed to ensure academic services provided for athletes are safe and include the necessary social distancing measures and increased cleanliness.
Travel guidelines and restrictions are still being developed. Texas State will listen to the advice of the Sun Belt and detail those plans at a later date.
The committee said it is going to do its best not to cancel tailgates and other ancillary activities related to athletics but will do so if necessary.
Upon recommendation from the Sun Belt, Texas State is forming an additional Athletics Health Team consisting of members of the Student Health Center, athletic training staff and strength and conditioning staff.
Trauth closed the webinar explaining that the committee does not have all the answers but is doing its best to learn and be thorough in its planning.
“I am asking [the committee] to stay engaged with the whole university community, stay open, stay flexible, [and] feed us your concerns and work with us,” Trauth said. “Because I believe we will get out of this crisis, but we have to work together to do that.”
Texas State is set to open its football season Sept. 15 against rival SMU at home for the first time in school history.
For the full webinar visit the Office of the President page.