Ole Miss Athletic Director confirms the school is 'targeting' July 1 return to sports

The Athletic Director at University of Mississippi hopes that athletes will be able to return July 1.

With collegiate sports being cancelled for the remainder of the 2020 season, Colleges are hoping to resume on time next fall.

“[We] have a lot of time to make up for… We were scheduled to start spring practice right after our spring break,”

In an interview with Campus Reform, University of Mississippi Athletic Director Keith Carter confirmed that the school is “targetting” a July 1 date for a return to a functioning athletics department.

With the coronavirus shuttering students from campus back to their homes, college athletics came to an abrupt pause. NCAA basketball canceled the March Madness championship, baseball season was canceled, and other sports were forced to postpone play due to COVID-19.

Although football season remained unaffected by the coronavirus, many have raised concerns about whether or not next season will begin on time. According to ESPN, organizations are looking into postponing play until spring 2021. Ultimately, the decision is in the hands of the states and organizations to resume play. 

Many have espoused ideas that might make resuming sports early both safe and possible. According to ESPN, scenarios have been considered to start the season as scheduled while closing it to fans. Other scenarios include reducing the season to conference-play only or delaying the fall season altogether. 

[RELATED: College football programs could lose BILLIONS if season is canceled]

“We want to start the fall on time, and start playing football and our fall sports in early September,” Carter told Campus Reform

“We would love to have our athletes back by that July 1 date. We have not made a decision as Ole Miss or as Ole Miss athletics to do that, but we are kind of targeting that date internally... and we are going to try to get them back by that point. But obviously, it will all be dictated by medical information.”

[RELATED: NCAA answers coronavirus complications with favor for D1 springtime athletes]

Carter also expressed the urge to make up for lost time. He says the football team has already missed several weeks of practice, 

“[We] have a lot of time to make up for… We were scheduled to start spring practice right after our spring break,” Carter said, adding that “[a lot of] student-athletes didn’t even come back to campus, they just stayed at home after spring break.” 

Carter remains optimistic about letting things play out. “There’s just a lot of factors in this one that are going to be very interesting [and] challenging to overcome, he said. 

“The only thing we can do is work hard and do the right thing to try to get the student-athletes back, and then we’ll work with what time we have… Hopefully, the NCAA will give some leniency on practice time.”

In the meantime, Carter says coaches and players are still in communication, doing everything they can to stay ahead of the curve.

“The coaches get 8 hours a week where they can spend time virtually [on Zoom or Skype] with the student-athletes talking about a lot of strategies… They can’t actually watch them workout. They can send workouts to them that they can do at home, but our strength coaches or our regular coaches do not have access to monitor those workouts… I know our student-athletes are doing their best to stay in shape, but it’s hard when they don’t have the resources at home that they do on our campus.” 

Ole Miss went 4-9 last season, looking to improve bringing in new head coach Lane Kiffin. 

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Addison_Smith49