Ohio State’s football team could be back on the practice field as soon as next month amid pending legislation from college sports’ governing body.
In a formal recommendation released Thursday evening, the NCAA's Division I football oversight committee proposed a preseason practice plan that begins July 13.
It ultimately remains subject to a vote by the Division I Council, which convenes on Wednesday, but the plan is expected to be approved.
The proposal clears the way for the Buckeyes and other teams across the country to restart organized activities after the coronavirus pandemic first interrupted spring football in March.
The Buckeyes held only three spring practices before the remaining 12 workouts, including the spring game, were canceled.
Ohio State players returned to campus this week for voluntary workouts at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, which had been closed for more than two months following the outbreak of COVID-19.
Starting on July 13, teams can hold up to eight hours of mandatory activities, including weightlifting, conditioning and film review.
Walk-throughs with footballs mark the next step in the preseason schedule on July 24 when teams are allowed 20 hours per week of "countable athletically related activities" for two weeks, involving eight hours for weightlifting and conditioning, six hours for walk-through and six hours for meetings.
The traditional four-week preseason camp is scheduled to begin Aug. 7.
The expanded preseason is intended to allow for a longer ramp-up period. Most teams are scheduled to open their seasons on Labor Day weekend. That includes Ohio State, which hosts Bowling Green in its first game on Sept. 5.
In a video interview released by the NCAA, Shane Lyons, the athletic director at West Virginia who chairs the football oversight committee, pointed to health and safety as the primary reason for the recommendation.
Lyons said the additional workout time on campus would allow for them to be "prepared for competitions once they arise."
In previous interviews, Ohio State coach Ryan Day had mentioned about six weeks as the time needed to prepare a team for the start of a season.