Today, the University of Tennessee announced plans to return students to campus this fall. Chancellor Donde Plowman made the official announcement in a video below.
Chancellor Plowman announced that UT plans to bring students back to campus this fall. The health and safety of our students and employees are our first priority, and we will continue to rely on health professionals & data to guide decisions. https://t.co/BNYPbSEEeK pic.twitter.com/yTPHj8SW5i— UT Knoxville (@UTKnoxville) May 6, 2020
Tennessee went fully online back on March 11th, falling in line with just about every other institution in the country following the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak. The SEC shut down the men’s basketball tournament, calling off the entire event just hours before Tennessee was supposed to play Alabama in the second round. They quickly suspended all other sports, and currently have restrictions on team gatherings until May 31st.
The University planning to reopen this fall sends a strong signal that college football should be on track to be played, something that was in serious doubt over the last month. Will we see a delayed start to the season? Possibly. Limited fan access? That’s possible too, if not likely.
Plans to start back professional sports are in motion for the summer months and will likely dictate college football’s next move. NASCAR will be the first back in mid-May, but will operate without fans in attendance to start. The PGA is on track for an early June return, while the MLB and NBA are more uncertain.
Chancellor Plowman noted that the University has put together a taskforce to help with those efforts to bring us back to normalcy this fall.
“Our reimagining fall taskforce, made up of 71 people, is working hard at generating ideas for how we can make this a rewarding, safe and exciting fall,” Plowman said.
Tennessee’s football season is slated to begin in Knoxville on September 5th against the Charlotte 49ers.