WKU defeats Army 17-8

Western Kentucky’s Malik Staples (right) hugs head coach Tyson Helton after WKU’s 17-8 win over Army on Oct. 12 at Houchens-Smith Stadium.

Tyson Helton will start welcoming back his football team to campus Monday.

In line with Western Kentucky University’s restart plan of bringing students back to its campus, a portion of the Hilltopper football team will report to Houchens-Smith Stadium to begin workouts June 8.

WKU will welcome back 65 players Monday and the rest of the team on July 6, the same day the university brings back its volleyball and women’s soccer team.

WKU athletics’ COVID-19 restart plan is one of four student return proposals by the university presented to the public on May 28 to prepare phasing students for a return after the coronavirus pandemic moved all courses online in March. With that came the cancellation of all athletic-related functions.

WKU President Dr. Timothy Caboni sent an email Wednesday to faculty, staff and students to reinforce the plan and announce the university received over 700 feedback forms.

The original proposal, available now to the general public, is what will be operated under starting Monday. The next version will be updated corresponding with feedback. The plan will work as a living document and is open to change as medical directors, governments and NCAA require.

“From a logistical standpoint, (football is) obviously the biggest one in terms of size of the roster and coaching staff.” WKU athletics director Todd Stewart said May 28 when the plan was proposed. “… What we really wanted to do is get the team fall sports here first, get them into a routine, get them around their teammates and their coaches again and after that, we have a gradual phase throughout the month of July when we’ll bring everybody else in.”

WKU football coaches returned to the facility this week and will start organizing workouts in groups of 10 or less. The athletic department will only perform COVID-19 testing for those who display symptoms of the virus. Asymptomatic people will not be automatically tested, although resources will be provided for testing for any student-athlete who requests it."

The men’s and women’s basketball teams will be brought back to campus on July 9 and begin voluntary workouts July 13. Cheerleading, men’s and women’s golf, cross country, track and field, softball, baseball and tennis teams will return to campus in phases until Aug. 22.

– Follow WKU athletics beat writer Elliott Pratt on Twitter @EPrattBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

Covering the Western Kentucky University athletics beat for the Bowling Green Daily News.

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