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Slow return to normal

Things are looking up for the return of fall sports.

Texas Tech v Kansas State

It’s Memorial Day weekend, which is typically the official start of the summer calendar in the United States. Right now, we’re living in fairly atypical times though, so it may be hard to get too excited about a possibly strange summer, especially without organized sports to occupy our time.

But fortunately, this barren wasteland of non-sports is not going to last forever. This week, the outlook for fall sports took a dramatic turn in a positive direction.

— The first domino to fall was the NCAA. The organization voted to approve the return of football and basketball players (both men and women) to campus for voluntary activities. These activities must be initiated by the athletes, and coaches cannot be present. (Emily Giambalvo, Washington Post).

— Conferences quickly followed suit. On Friday, the Big 12 conference announced it would allow football players to return starting June 15 in the first phase of the league’s three-part plan to return to normal sports operations. Athletes in other fall sports will return on July 1, with all athletes back on campus at least for voluntary activities by July 15 (Sam Khan Jr., ESPN).

— Kansas State athletic director Gene Taylor said that most Big 12 schools were not quite ready to return as early as June 1, but every school is still working to start the football season in Week 0 as originally scheduled (K-State SID)

— Earlier this week, Taylor was on Paul Finebaum’s radio show, noting that most programs could probably stay afloat on television revenue should the season be played without fans.

Head coach Chris Klieman is glad to be back in his office, where “everything just works a little faster.” He remains optimistic (though not confident) that the season will go on as planned, especially with players slated to return to campus on June 1 for strength and conditioning (Ryan Black, Manhattan Mercury).

— Some good roster news for the Wildcats, as junior Josh Rivas was just named the nation’s best interior offensive lineman by Pro Football Focus. His experience will be helpful to anchor a line that could be a difference maker for Kansas State in 2020.

Have a great long weekend!