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Schlissel: Decision on college football, fall sports coming ‘in the weeks ahead’

It seems we have a timeline for a decision on the football season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Ohio State at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Monday was opened with the news that the University of Michigan would be opening campus for the fall semester as the state continues to come out of the coronavirus pandemic. That was a good first step for the potential return of sports given that it seemed we could not have that conversation until students were allowed back in Ann Arbor.

That said, it is far from a guarantee that it automatically means football and other sports are back, even with athletes returning for voluntary workouts. However, president Mark Schlissel said on Monday that the timeline for a decision on a return to sports could be coming pretty soon.

“Many student-athletes have already returned to campus for voluntary conditioning activities under strict public health guidelines,” he said. “Michigan Athletics is working with our public health experts and consulting with the Big Ten and NCAA on determining whether our student-athletes can safely return to competition this fall. An announcement will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.”

This matches up with the timeline given by athletic director Warde Manuel in a chat with the media last week, as he said he expected to know something by late June or early July.

Michigan athletes were allowed back on campus starting on June 15 to begin voluntary workouts. This is reportedly set to be followed by mandatory workouts for football players in July and a NFL-style minicamp to prepare for the season. Fall camp would kick off sometime in August.

The state of Michigan continues to see its COVID-19 numbers fall and is on track to contain the disease while numbers rise in other parts of the country. This might mean good news for football, but it is still expected that Michigan Stadium would see games take place with limited or no fans in attendance. All options other than a full stadium are currently on the table, it appears.