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Penn State Football: Big Ten Extends Suspension of Team Activities to Early May

by on March 27, 2020 4:47 PM

The Big Ten announced on Friday afternoon that it will extend the previously announced suspension of all organized team activities through May 4, 2020 and will re-evaluate again at that time.

Originally the restriction on team activities had been slated to be evaluated on April 6 in the wake of the still spreading COVID-19 virus. Given the increasing case numbers on a national scale, Friday's news seemed largely a formality.

Penn State's first full summer session is scheduled to begin May 16.

The conference had also previously announced a moratorium on all on- and off-campus recruiting activities for the foreseeable future. That restriction continues with no evaluation date. 

In the big picture Friday's news was not unexpected but does shrink the timeline for on-campus practices and workouts as the fall season draws closer. Penn State football began training camp in early August last year, giving the Nittany Lions nearly a 90-day cushion between the end of the current restrictions and the start of when Penn State would generally begin the start of camp during a "normal" year.

It is unknown at this time if Penn State would try to work in additional practices prior to fall camp, and what the NCAA might do, if anything, to level the playing field for teams that had yet to begin spring practice. Team are permitted 15 practices in the spring.

The question that follows the May 4 date is how long James Franklin and his staff would need in order to prepare the Nittany Lions for the 2020 season, not only schematically but physically as well.

"I'm having my sports, scientists my strength staff, the training staff, everybody getting together because the day before I was having a conversation with our athletic director Sandy Barbour," Franklin said earlier this week. "We had the same discussion, is it 30 days, is it 45 days, 60 days, is it 90 days? What is needed to make sure that that we're going to be in good shape that the players are going to be able to to protect themselves and and be able to go out and compete at a high level? ...We just started that discussion yesterday."

"I had another discussion this morning with my staff," Franklin added. "I have my opinion, but I want to hear what my strength staff thinks. I want to hear what my coaching staff thinks, two coordinators and what they need from a time standpoint as well... We had already worked on, about six different models. So, if we were able to get back in a month, if we're able to get back in six weeks, if we were able to get back in, you know, two months, if we were able to get back and, you know, whatever the time period was we started kind of breaking it out what's this gonna look like."

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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