Those Aggie fans hoping for college football this fall got some good news Monday.
Utah State announced a plan to reopen its facilities for voluntary individual workouts for football players. It began on Monday.
The announcement by USU follows decisions by the NCAA Division I council and the Mountain West Conference to allow the resumption of in-person, voluntary workouts at on-campus facilities.
Other Aggie athletes will return later this summer in a phased approach.
According to a press release: “Utah State athletics has collaborated with the university, state and local health officials, and state leadership to develop a comprehensive plan that is designed to provide the highest levels of care for the health and safety of student-athletes, staff and the campus community.”
When athletes return to campus, they will be evaluated for clearance by the USU medical staff. Athletes will also be monitored and will be expected to adhere to a number of safety protocols consistent with federal and local public health guidelines.
This reopening of facilities will allow student-athletes to utilize on-campus weight rooms and athletic training facilities on a voluntary basis. Safety of the athletes and staff is the top priority, so there will be polices that include: Athletes will be required to do a 14-day quarantine and be tested for COVID-19; Signs and symptoms, including temperature checks will be administered to athletes and staff upon arrival at the facility each day. Those individuals that have been cleared will be issued wristbands by appropriate medical staff; Athletes will be required to make an appointment to utilize weight rooms and athletic training facilities and mask will be required when within six feet of others; All equipment and facilities will be thoroughly sanitized after each use; Locker room facilities will not be available to athletes.
The USU plan also outlines protocols for handling positive tests. The goal is to create a safe and manageable return for all Aggies and staff. USU wants to decentralize potential areas of congestion and cross contamination among teams. A tracing system within the department will also be created.
The protocols are designed to maintain a low risk for exposure and manage tracing should some athletes test positive.
The press release concluded: “The success within each phase will continue to guide the approach to subsequent phases, as greater numbers of student-athletes will be welcomed back to campus in the safest possible manner.”
It was announced Monday that USU will play at Mississippi State during the 2024 season. The date is Sept. 14, and will be the first time these two schools have met on the gridiron.
The Aggies are familiar with SEC schools. This past season they traveled to LSU, to Tennessee in 2014 and to Auburn in 2011. USU has also played at Alabama twice, most recently in 2005, and at Kentucky three times, including a 35-6 road win in 1970, along with games at Arkansas in 2006 and at Georgia in 1999.
It was also announced that the Aggies’ 2023 game at Iowa will now be played on Sept. 2. Other scheduled games in 2023 include a home game against Idaho State on Sept. 9, and a road game at Connecticut on Sept. 30.