Gophers football players to start return to campus amid pandemic

Gophers football players will be among the first students to step back on campus as the Athletic Department begins to restart its sports programs.

According to the university, football players will be first back on campus, followed by basketball, soccer, and volleyball players. Other student-athletes will join them in the coming weeks.

A spokesman says student-athletes who are returning are doing so voluntarily and athletes who choose not to return to campus won't lose their scholarship.

The university says it is taking steps to protect the players and will put in place regular testing for both COVID-19 and antibodies among students. The university will also require daily screening for student-athletes.

Before they can start working out, athletes will have to have two negative COVID-19 tests and go through a health appraisal.

If a student has a positive test, they will be required to self-isolate and be put in contact with the university's medical staff. There will also be a separate process for students who test positive for COVID-19 antibodies.

At the same time, university leaders are looking at a possible return to campus this fall for the rest of the student body.