The University of Alabama football team, in keeping with new NCAA guidelines, will begin mandatory workouts on Tuesday in preparation for the 2020 season and UA anticipates some individual absences due to COVID-19 positives or individual choices by players who have tested negative but elected not to participate at this time.

UA has not officially released numbers related to positive COVID-19 tests and continued that policy on Monday. A source with knowledge of the UA program told The News that “a large majority” of the squad was expected to participate but would not confirm whether that number would be 100 percent.

Published reports last month indicated eight or nine positive COVID-19 results among football team members at UA but statistical trends suggest that number would be higher at this time. UA also did not disclose if any of the earliest positive tests had received subsequent negatives on retesting.

Several schools around the nation including Ohio State, Kansas and Maryland either discontinued voluntary workouts in the past few weeks or have postponed the start of mandatory practices.

The NCAA had set a July 13 mandatory date for football teams whose first contest is currently scheduled for September 5. Alabama’s scheduled opener with USC on that date has been cancelled but UA is  allowed to begin as the possibility of a replacement game on that date has not been ruled out. The one-day delay is Alabama’s start of mandatory workouts was “strictly administrative,” per the source.

The overall situation in college football remains fluid as some conferences have opted for spring football and others for a conference-only schedule, with those decisions still subject to change. The Southeastern Conference has made no final decision regarding the 2020 season as of Monday afternoon.

The expanded summer access beginning on Tuesday will allow up to eight hours of mandatory weight training, conditioning and film review per week (with not more than two hours of film review per week) through July 24.

Beginning on July 24, through August 6, schools may conduct up to 20 hours of countable athletically related activities per week (not more than four hours per day) as follows:
Up to eight hours per week for weight training and conditioning.
Up to six hours per week for walk-throughs, which may include the use of a football.
Up to six hours per week for meetings, which may include film review, team meetings, position meetings, one-on-one meetings, etc.
During this 14-day period, student-athletes are required to get at least two days off.

The traditional August schedule will begin 29 days before a team’s opening game.


Reach Cecil Hurt at or via Twitter @cecilhurt