STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) - Chad Lunsford reacted to the NCAA’s announcement allowing some student-athletes to return to campus for voluntary workouts like most fans of college football: with excitement.
“There was that glimmer of hope that it’s going to happen for us and we’re going to be able to get back," Lunsford says.
Several programs, including Georgia, Clemson, and Oklahoma, have announced return plans for next month. While the Eagles haven’t yet, the program’s head coach says he anticipates getting back to work sooner rather than later.
“We’re very hopeful and optimistic that it’ll happen soon, hopefully in June,” he says.
Lunsford says the Eagles were discussing their safety plans before any NCAA announcement was made. He believes a June return would include a phase in period, which would allow the program to make sure everything is being done properly.
“It was ‘Let’s make sure we have the right plan in place at Georgia Southern.’ We can get them in an environment that will be safe and healthy for them," Lunsford says. "But also, being able to make sure that if they do come for voluntary workouts that we’re practicing everything the CDC has put forth.”
The Eagles are scheduled to open the 2020 season at Boise State on September 5. Lunsford continues to believe that and the rest of the college football season will happen as planned.
“This time last month, we were not even talking about a possible return to campus for voluntary workouts," Lunsford says. "Now it’s progressed to that. So I do think everything’s trending in a very positive manner for us to start on time.”
Before that can take place, the players will have to get back on campus.
Lunsford says he’s excited that’s now a possibility, and something he believes he’ll see happen very soon.