Stricklin: Gators on schedule for fall sports

Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

Whether in television, radio or for print interviews in the past several weeks, Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin has stayed on point with his message that the Gators are planning to start the upcoming athletic season on schedule.

“Currently, the Gators’ first scheduled competition for 2020-21 is a soccer match on August 21. Football’s first game is September 5 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium,” Stricklin wrote in a letter delivered via email to Gator fans Friday.

“What will our venues look like once those games are played? That’s a popular question and one for which today there is not a clear answer. However, our goal is to accommodate as many Gator fans as UF Health and state health officials deem appropriate. My sense today, in early June, is that the more time we allow to gather information and receive further medical guidance, the better the chances we have to engage as many fans as possible on campus this fall. By early August, we should have a better idea what fan attendance can look like.”

A large number of UF football players return to the facility Monday.

“Gator student-athletes will begin having access to our weight rooms for voluntary, in-person workouts, which will be supervised by strength and sports medicine staff,” Stricklin wrote. “After going through a physical health screening, which will include COVID-19 testing, student-athletes will have the ability to return in stages over the next couple of weeks, beginning with football and continuing with volleyball and soccer.

“Athletes in other sports will have the opportunity to return to campus for workouts beginning in July, once again in a staged approach that will include health screening and testing.

“We have made and will continue to make decisions surrounding COVID-19 by relying on the guidance of UF Health, campus leadership, state health officials, and the SEC’s Medical Guidance Task Force. With input and assistance from medical experts, a plan has been put in place to promote a safer environment for both student-athletes and athletic department staff.”