JU taking cautious approach in deciding when athletes can return to campus

VIDEO: JU Athletic Director Alex Ricker-Gilbert shares how JU plans to move forward.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – College sports teams are slowly getting back to work.

The NCAA Division I Council voted to allow athletes to resume voluntary workouts on campus this past Monday, although not all colleges are rushing athletes back to school.

Two weeks ago, the NCAA said student-athletes could return to on-campus voluntary workouts beginning June 1. Jacksonville University athletic director Alex Ricker-Gilbert said that the Dolphins are being a bit more cautious with their approach in bringing athletes back to school. He doesn’t expect JU’s athletes to return to campus until late June or early July.

“Right now, all that is allowed is voluntary and that concerned me because you want to have supervision of those activities to make sure proper protocol and practices are being followed,” he said. “We won’t bring student-athletes back until the allowable rules include coaches monitoring activities.”

Ricker-Gilbert who represents the Atlantic Sun Conference’s 10 colleges, said JU is already working on safety protocols to keep student-athletes safe once they get back on campus.

It is still early but one of the most discussed topics for when sports return is will fans be allowed to attend games. Ricker-Gilbert said it isn’t something he wants to think about at this point, but JU will do what is best for its athletes.

“My bigger concern is the experience for our student-athletes and the momentum and excitement fans create and the opportunity athletics provide students on campus to get together to socialize to cheer on their fellow classmates,” he said.

Ricker-Gilbert said that JU is watching closely what other sports on the professional and collegiate levels are doing and says JU will continue to adapt as new information becomes available.

About the Author:

Jamal St. Cyr is an award-winning sports anchor who joined the News4Jax sports team in 2019.