NCAA,
Mar 29, 2019; Albany , NY, USA; General view of a NCAA logo prior to an Albany regional semifinal game of the women's 2019 NCAA Tournament between the UCLA Bruins and the UConn Huskies at the Times Union Center. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Council voted on Wednesday to allow schools to lift the moratorium on on-campus voluntary workouts, taking the first major step toward college football season taking place in the fall.

The ruling came down from a Division I Council meeting that voted to lift the moratorium period on voluntary workouts at universities’ athletic facilities. The decision will go into effect on June 1 and take place through June 30.

The NCAA council faced three potential decisions during Wednesday’s vote. They could either keep campuses closed entirely by extending the ban, allow schools to hold voluntary workouts without coach interactions, or could allow required training with coaches present.

By allowing programs to start voluntary workouts, the NCAA opens the door for conferences and schools to put the wheels in motion on plans that have come together in recent weeks. As a majority of student-athletes lack the resources at home to train and prepare for football season, many will now be able to return to campus and have access to everything they need to get ready.

The ruling comes at a time when many universities across the country were making plans to allow student-athletes to return. Ohio State’s football program is reportedly bringing players back on June 8 and SEC schools are expected to approve a similar timeline for a return.

While the decision is excellent news for college football, it won’t be received well by everyone around the NCAA. Oklahoma Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley blasted schools that planned to bring student-athletes back on June 1.

The Pac-12 conference has experienced the greatest uncertainty for a return, but recently released a plan to bring college football back in the fall.

While many problems lie ahead for the NCAA and its schools, Wednesday’s vote is a step toward college football in a few short months. Given how unlikely that seemed a few weeks ago amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s great news for universities across the country.