ABC - Sports News

Lorenzo Bevilaqua / ESPN ImagesBy HAYLEY FITZPATRICK, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Shaquille O'Neal is sharing his thoughts on the protests and police brutality in the United States in the wake of George Floyd's death.

During an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday, the Hall of Famer said he was "disgusted" when he saw the video of Floyd's death.

"I think you have your knee on the man's neck for more than five minutes -- it just didn't make any sense," he said. "Police officers ... you know better, you have to know better in certain situations."

O'Neal comes from a family of police officers and was even sworn in as a auxiliary deputy with the Broward County Sheriff's Office in Florida last year.

He said, however, he has to talk to his sons, Shareef, 20, and Shaqir, 17, about how to interact with the police "all the time."

"I told them, 'First of all, you have to try to diffuse the situation by showing respect because you have to understand that these people are also out here to do all their jobs. So you try to diffuse the situation. And if it happens to get rough, don't say anything, don't do anything, just comply,'" he explained.

He went on, "And then when all is said and done, you call me, and if stuff gets out of hand, then I will handle it. I will be the one to come around and act crazy. I don’t want you to act crazy while you’re out there by yourself. So I just try to tell them, just comply, just listen, but a lot of times that doesn’t work either."

He said that he also tells them to "just show respect."

.@Shaq on George Floyd, Trump, discrimination, law enforcement, and his family...

— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) June 3, 2020

Former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin, who was seen kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes as Floyd repeatedly declared that he couldn't breathe, was charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter on May 29. He received an additional charge of second-degree murder on Wednesday.

The three other officers involved in Floyd's arrest, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao, were each charged Wednesday with second-degree aiding and abetting felony murder and second-degree aiding and abetting manslaughter, according to court documents.

"There's an old saying that what's right is right, what's wrong is wrong. What happened to George Floyd was all the way wrong, absolutely wrong, uncalled for," O'Neal said. "I've never seen that technique taught. A lot of police officers I've talked to would never do that. Everybody's upset, everybody's tired. We demand justice."

The basketball legend also weighed in on the protests across the nation.

"I'm 48 years old and I've seen, you know, outbreaks and riots before," he said. "This is the first time I think the country is doing it all at the same time. I've never seen it in more than one city."

He continued, "They want equality. They want justice. And I understand. I'm all for peaceful protesting. I don't like the opportunists that are riding around the neighborhoods leaving bricks trying to cause riots. I don't like people breaking into stores. I don't condone all that, but I am for peaceful protesting and I am for justice."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(NEW YORK) -- Dak Prescott announced a $1 million commitment to addressing systematic racism and police training in the United States on Wednesday.

The Dallas Cowboys quarterback released a four-part statement on his Instagram, sharing his thoughts on the protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

"As a black, multiracial American, I am disgusted and unsettled! I am as optimistic as they come! I try to understand and find the positive in every situation or aspect of my life," he said.

"My mom left me the word FAITH to live out for a reason. I believe in the good in each individual and this country as a whole! To be humble and to see every man and woman as the same takes humility and accountability," he continued.

He said he's supporting the protesters standing against racial injustice in the U.S. and views the demonstrations "as a form of strength and an attempt to show we as Black people have rights that aren’t being perceived equally as our counterparts."

The NFL player condemned violence and looting, which have overtaken many peaceful protests across the nation.

He stated, however, that he believes cops are "as guilty as the men who stood by Derek Chauvin," the since-fired police officer who pinned Floyd to the ground, if they do not take a firm stance against the racism that pervades the country.

"I have the utmost respect for those of you with a passion for protecting and serving your communities," he said in a message to officers. "When you choose to wear the badge of a police officer, you pledged to PROTECT life and property through the enforcement of our laws and regulations. How can you claim to uphold the law when those within your own ranks don’t abide by it? You need to hold your own accountable!"

"As long as cops continue to profile blacks as a threat, cops will continue to be perceived as untrustworthy," he added. "You have to change yourself before you can ask anyone else to change!"

Prescott also shared that while coping with the recent death of his brother, Jace Prescott, who died in April, he realized "we are not given a voice to pronounce how much we matter."

"It is our obligation to tell our neighbor how much they matter to us and to take a stand for the greater good of each other," he said.

Prescott said he will "take action" and "act alongside" those protesting against racism. He said the funds he's donating to various organizations will "address systematic racism through education and advocacy."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty ImagesBy DEENA ZARU, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- Protests against the deaths of unarmed black men and women at the hands of law enforcement have often revived conversations surrounding Colin Kaepernick, but the killing last week of George Floyd has brought Kaepernick back into the debate in a stark way.

The images of a police officer kneeling on Floyd's neck as the Minnesota man called out that he can't breathe have sparked advocates, athletes and celebrities to draw a direct visual parallel to Kaepernick's kneeling protest against police brutality, with side-by-side photos going viral on social media.

LeBron James was among those to share the parallel images on Instagram, topped with the words, "This … is why."

"Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you??" the Los Angeles Lakers star wrote in the caption. Printouts of that same image have also been held up during protests around the country.

Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, became the first NFL player to take a knee on the football field during the playing of the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality.

"It's this sort of eerie similarity in the position that Kaepernick physically took, and the position that the officer had assumed on the neck and the head of George Floyd," Marc Lamont Hill, an activist and professor of media studies and urban education at Temple University, told ABC News.

"It was almost like the flip side of it, that Kaepernick was taking a knee for justice and this man was taking a knee in ending the life of a black man in the very fashion that Colin Kaepernick was protesting and trying to put a spotlight on," he said.

Amid the unrest, even some police officers and top brass have taken a knee in the streets alongside protesters in solidarity against the killings of unarmed black people.

Floyd was apprehended by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, last Monday. According to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office, Floyd's death was a homicide caused by "a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s)."

An independent autopsy ordered by George Floyd's family found his death was a "homicide caused by asphyxia due to neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain," according to early findings from the examination released Monday.

Derek Chauvin, who was fired from the Minneapolis Police following the incident, has been charged with third-degree murder in connection with Floyd's death. Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes, including about three minutes while Floyd was unresponsive, according to court documents.

Three other officers who were on the scene -- Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao -- have not been charged but an investigation is still ongoing, according to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison.

"You can't stop thinking about that," said sports journalist and ABC News contributor Christine Brennan. "The side-by-side visuals are everything, and because we are such a visual society, because photos and video matters so much to us ... that then brings Colin Kaepernick back into the conversation in a big way. If people had forgotten him or pushed him out of their memory, [Kaepernick] has come flooding back because of the visual, and then because he was right."

Kaepernick, who hasn't played in the NFL since 2016, sparked a movement after first taking a knee on the field in August 2016, with several other athletes following his example -- the first of which was then-teammate Eric Reid. It is widely viewed that Kaepernick was blacklisted from the NFL due to his on-field protest.

Over the past couple of seasons, on-field protests have waned, but Reid -- along with players Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson -- has continued to take a knee.

Brennan said we "don't know" whether this wave of protests will have an impact on the football field this coming season, but she is "stunned" the NFL has not signed Kaepernick.

"One would think that a team would want to sign him if only for the symbolism of the message that would be set, especially to young people," she said.

Kaepernick filed a grievance against league owners in 2017 alleging that they colluded to ensure that he remained unsigned. The lawsuit has been settled.

The NFL on Saturday released a statement from commissioner Roger Goodell, who offered condolences to the family of George Floyd and said that the league was "greatly saddened by the tragic events" amid nationwide protests.

"The protesters' reactions to these incidents reflect the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us feel," Goodell wrote, adding that the protests "underscore" that "there remains much more to do as a country and as a league."

Hill noted that the statement "didn't offer any criticism, any outrage" and did not mention "the killing of anybody" or words like "racism" or "police violence."

Reid, who is now a free agent, and Stills both criticized the statement, with Reid appearing to mock the NFL's social change initiative, which was launched in January 2019 amid mounting backlash over Kaepernick's absence.

Through the initiative, the NFL partnered with the Players Coalition and other organizations, including Jay-Z's Roc Nation, on social justice campaigns.

But with Kaepernick still unsigned, those efforts have been viewed as an effort to save face by activists and players who have continued to take a knee.

Hill said the NFL's statement during the protests is in "sharp contrast" to how Kaepernick has been treated.

"He became persona non grata in the NFL. He was treated as an enemy of the state, and I mean that quite literally when you look at the response of Donald Trump to him," Hill said. "Donald Trump had more words of outrage for Kaepernick than he did for the killer, the killer of George Floyd."

Asked about the criticism, a spokesperson for the NFL told ABC News on Tuesday that league is "in daily contact with our national social justice partners to listen, understand and generate new ideas of how we can help use the platform of the NFL to help improve relations with law enforcement. We are working closely with the clubs and players to provide more grants and programs that can be adapted in local communities."

"Our clubs and players have worked extensively to provide training sessions, community gatherings and ride-alongs with players and local police departments, as well as team-facilitated volunteer programs that involve police officers and underserved youth," the spokesperson added. "We are committed to working with players, clubs and partners to make positive change in our communities."

Kaepernick, who founded his own social justice organization, has spoken out in support of activists and started a legal defense fund to provide legal representation to those protesting in Minneapolis.

President Donald Trump, who has been silent on Kaepernick and the NFL's handling of the protests for more than a year, clearly took a side in this divisive debate by repeatedly lambasting players who took a knee in a years-long feud with the NFL.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Alexander Tamargo/WireImageBy CANDICE WILLIAMS

(NEW YORK) -- Michael Jordan's daughter, Jasmine, is opening up about her famous father's "rambunctious" side that many fans never get to see.

In a recent interview with ABC Audio, the 27-year-old said that for those hoping to catch her father on social media, don't hold your breath.

"My father is so -- not anti-social media, but anti-social media," she shared with a laugh. "I can never imagine him being on Twitter. I can't imagine him on IG or anything like that."

While social media may not be the way for fans see Michael Jordan let loose, Jordan promised he does have an outlet where he opens up.

"When you get him in his natural element of just being that fun and rambunctious dad, it's with music," she revealed. "He loves music."

"And it can be rap," she continued. "It can be R&B. It can be hip-hop, whatever. He has no limit on the boundaries and categories of music that he listens to. That's really when you get to see that fun side of him."

So, what does Michael Jordan actually listen to? According to Jordan, it ranges from Future to "throwing it back" with Anita Baker.

"There's just a plethora of options," she said.

Jordan said her father is also big on getting music before it officially hits the masses.

"I remember when I was younger, he used to always get everyone CDs before they came out," she said. "I never understood why. Like, why are you listening to Johnny Gill's album before anybody has it? It was mind-boggling."

Of course, now it all makes sense.

"Music is just another aspect that truly allows him to be himself and connect and really just have fun and let his hair down. Or lack thereof," she quipped. "But we love music together."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

Brett Carlsen/Getty ImagesBy NICOLE PELLETIERE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- An NFL player took to over the weekend to share his run-in with an elderly white woman as the death of George Floyd sparks outrage and protests across the nation.

Zay Jones, a wide receiver for the Las Vegas Raiders, described his heartfelt encounter Monday on Good Morning America.

Jones said the woman approached him and his cousin at a Home Goods discount store in Henderson, Nevada, and said, "I'm from Minneapolis [and] I just want you to know that you matter."

"I could see [it] was very sincere and heartfelt," Jones told GMA, adding that he asked permission to hug the woman. "I just felt like that was the right thing to do. And in an instant, she just kind of fell into my arms and she just started crying."

i was just at a local home goods store w/ my cousin getting furniture for my place when an elderly white woman approached me at the check out counter. she looked at me w/ tears in her eyes... & then said “i’m from Minneapolis & I just want you to know “you matter to me.”

— zay (@zayjones11) May 30, 2020

Floyd, a black man, died on Memorial Day after he was pinned down by former white Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin.

Following his death, protests in Minnesota have spread to more than 20 states. Some have resulted in arrests, vandalism and destruction of property. Many cities have issued curfews in response.

Floyd's death has also ignited conversations on racism, with people like Jones using social media as a platform to voice experiences and moments of solidarity.

Jones' tweet about his apparent exchange with a white woman at the store checkout counter garnered over 89,000 retweets and 812,000 shares.

He told GMA he posted the story to spread love during this difficult time.

"Beautiful people still exist in this world," Jones said. "We just got to love each other. We got to lean on each other. We got to listen to each other."

Jones said he didn't get the woman's name, but wants to thank her for giving him "peace."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.


(NEW YORK) -- Former NBA player Stephen Jackson says his longtime friend George Floyd, who called him his "twin," was in the middle of getting his life together when he was killed Monday after he was apprehended by Minneapolis police and pinned to the ground for more than seven minutes with a knee on his neck while he pleaded for his life.

Jackson said on Wednesday that he wants the police officers responsible for Floyd's death to receive the death penalty and that without that, the protests over his death will get worse. He spoke to ABC News just before a second night of what had been largely peaceful protests escalated into violence.

"You're going to see more and more stuff going on which I don't agree with, but people are not getting justice," Jackson told Nightline co-anchor Juju Chang. "Just losing a job is not enough. These people are really hurt. You're taking someone's life just because you can, because you know you're protected. ... It's going to get worse. Trust me, it's going to get worse."

"So let's get this right. Make these men pay for what they've done to my brother and keep the peace," he added, referring to the four Minneapolis police officers involved in Floyd's arrest who were terminated from their jobs Wednesday.

Jackson, who won an NBA championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003, said he could have "easily" been Floyd if it were not for the opportunities he had been given that led him down a different path. Jackson was born in Port Arthur, Texas, but regularly visited Floyd in his hometown of Houston. Jackson said the two became close and that they "looked out for each other" in Houston's South Side.

"When I was in Houston, he looked out for me," Jackson said. "So ... it was a relationship that grew over just being in the streets, growing up together. And we just became tight over the years, and the fact that we look alike made us grow even tighter."

As they grew older, Jackson said Floyd was there to support him during the 14 seasons he spent in the NBA, through all the ups and downs. Floyd, who was a high school football star and also played basketball, lived through Jackson's success.

"Every city, every team I played on, everywhere I was, we talked. He was excited. Everything I did," Jackson said. "He was excited because the first thing he said was, 'My twin is doing this. My twin is doing that.' He lived through me. He knew he had the talent, he had the same skills and everything I had. … I just had more opportunity."

Jackson said that although Floyd had associated with the wrong people in Houston -- he was charged in 2007 with armed robbery and sentenced to five years in prison as part of a plea deal in 2009 -- he had moved to Minneapolis to build a better life. He said Floyd had "beat the hood."

"He'd been through a lot of stuff in his life -- a lot of stuff -- and to make it out after you rehabilitate yourself and you're intelligent enough to know I can't go back to the same surroundings because it's gonna bring me back to the same spot," Jackson said.

"He was excited to tell me he was driving trucks and he was going to Minnesota and start over -- get a new start," he continued.

He said that the last time they spoke, one year ago, Floyd was preparing for a job interview in which he planned to wear a suit handed down by Jackson.

"He's like, 'Man, it fit me, man. I even got the shirt with your initials because I want people to know my twin gave me this shirt,'" Jackson said. "That's the type of person he was. ... He wanted everybody to know that we called each other 'twin.' And like I say, there wasn't many more people that was [more] proud of me than Floyd."

In addition to moving to Minnesota for work, Jackson said Floyd also wanted to become a better father.

"He [was] proud to see me live on my best days and being in a good place. He was happy to see that, and that's the direction he wanted to go. ... We were going in that direction together, and that's what I'm going to miss most about him -- that I know his best days were now. He was living his best days. He was becoming his best self," Jackson said.

Although a Minneapolis Police Department statement from Monday said Floyd "physically resisted officers" when they were called in "on a report of a forgery in progress," Jackson said it would have been unlike Floyd to resist arrest.

"I know his character; that ain't in his character. If you listen to him, he's calling out for his mom. He's calling out for his kids. This is a family guy. This is a loving guy," Jackson said. "The last thing he was thinking about was resisting arrest."

Jackson said that hearing about Floyd's death was unexpected, and that "it hurts that it happened to a good person."

"He was a stand-up guy and one of the best people I met. ... His heart was always in the right place and the video, showing him not resisting and all that, it just killed me that my brother's not here," he said.

Jackson said the video showing Floyd handcuffed and on his stomach as a Minneapolis police officer pressed down on his neck made him angry. In the video, Floyd could be heard calling for his late mother and pleading with the police to ease up on his neck, saying, "I can't breathe, please, the knee in my neck."

"[It] makes me angry. Makes me so angry because Floyd is one of the strongest people, you know. But to hear that scream and that cry for help in his voice, it's just wrong. It's just wrong. And he cried out for help," Jackson said tearfully. "It's just wrong man. It's just wrong. No way around the boy, it's wrong. ... Just picture it being a white guy with black cops. We wouldn't even be having this discussion."

Jackson said this incident with Floyd shouldn't be the wakeup call people need to start caring about police-involved killings. There have been "hundreds of other incidents" that should have woken people up, he said.

He also called out those who appropriate or buy into black culture, whether that's music or clothing, and implored them to step up.

"You cannot say you love me as the entertainer, actor or news personality ... and not love my people as a whole," Jackson said. "The white people that want to be black when it's time to buy music or it's time to be at concerts or it's time to dress black, if you want to be black, there is time to be black now. ... It's time for you to come ... and support the black culture."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved

cmannphoto/iStockBy ANGELINE JANE BERNABE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The NBA may complete their season at Walt Disney World.

In an interview with ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis, Bob Chapek, the chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company, revealed that Disney and the NBA are currently in conversations to finish their season at Walt Disney World.

"We would be thrilled to see the NBA finish up their season at Walt Disney World," said Chapek. "Our wide World Sports Facility is not only enormous, but it's state of the art. And we're in daily conversations with the NBA to see if this is something that they want to happen."

"We would like to get sports back," Chapek added. "People want Disney theme parks, but they also want live sports. And if we can play a part in making both of those happen for all of our fans, we'd love to do that."

The NBA was among the first sports leagues in the U.S. to suspend their season due to the coronavirus pandemic. After a game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder in March, the NBA announced it would indefinitely halt games after a player tested positive for coronavirus.

Most NBA teams had about 15 to 20 games left, and the season was set to end on April 15, with playoffs to begin three days later.

During that time, the league had discussed playing games in empty arenas without fans, but players like LeBron James and Steph Curry had spoken out against the idea.

"Everything about our routines is reliant upon that kind of game day energy," Curry said when reports surfaced that games at the Chase Center in San Francisco would be played without fans after the mayor banned gatherings of over 1,000 people.

While it's still not confirmed whether the NBA will pick up and finish their season at Walt Disney World, and it's unclear how they'll incorporate NBA fans into the experience, Chapek said Disney is willing to work with the NBA on how to manage those details.

"We'll leave that up to the NBA if this comes to pass in terms of how they manage the fan piece of this," said Chapek. "But as you know, we stand here ready, willing and able to facilitate whatever we can do in a responsible way."

Chapek's news comes as Walt Disney World announced a phased reopening plan on Wednesday for its parks, with July 11 as a targeted opening date for the Magic Kingdom and July 15 as the planned reopening date for Epcot and Hollywood Studios. Plans to reopen the parks also include new safety measures for guests.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved

francisblack/iStockBy ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The National Hockey League, on hiatus since March 12, announced on Tuesday its intention to restart team training camps by mid-July in preparation for an amended Stanley Cup playoffs to be held in two "hub" cities.

Twenty-four of the league's 31 teams will return to the ice to vie for the Stanley Cup, up from the 16 teams that usually make the playoffs.

Each of the two conferences will conduct its games in a "hub" city to be selected from among Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver, league officials said.

The top four teams in each conference will play a round-robin series to determine seeding, while the conference's remaining eight teams will play a best-of-five qualifying round, with the winners joining the top seeds for the playoffs' first round.

Game dates and series formats are yet to be announced and will depend on medical conditions and government regulations.

"We are hopeful the Return To Play Plan will allow us to complete the season and award the Stanley Cup in a manner in which the health and safety of our players, on-ice officials, team staff and associated individuals involved are paramount," Commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement.

Meanwhile, officials with the National Basketball Association, whose season runs roughly parallel to the NHL's, are holding exploratory talks with The Walt Disney Company, ABC News' parent company, about resuming the NBA season at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, in late July, league officials say.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved

fstop123/iStockBy ELLA TORRES, ABC NEWS

(NEWARK, N.J.) -- An NFL player has sued United Airlines after he was allegedly sexually assaulted on a flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey.

The player, who was not named, was flying home to New Jersey on Feb. 10 when the alleged incident occurred, according to the lawsuit. During the trip, a woman sitting next to him "continued to sexually assault and abuse [him]," the lawsuit states, including by grabbing his penis and groping his thigh.

The woman also stroked her hand across his lap near his genitals, according to the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

Aside from the alleged sexual assault, the lawsuit states that the NFL player was wearing a face mask to protect himself from COVID-19, but the woman accused of him of being sick, told him he was "frightening" and ripped off the mask.

United Airlines issued a statement to ABC News, saying, "The safety and well-being of our customers is always our top priority. In this instance, the customer involved was moved to a different seat. Because litigation is now pending, we're unable to provide further comment."

The player, who is black, was "fearful of the perception of being a male victim and the racial stigma of being a young African American male," according to the lawsuit. At one point, he "patiently pleaded" with the woman, who is white, to stop and remove her hand, but she did not, according to the lawsuit.

Another man, who was also not named in the lawsuit and identified only as John Doe 2, was traveling with the player at the time. That man saw the woman groping the player's knees and thighs and alerted a flight attendant, however, no action was taken, according to the lawsuit.

When the woman then allegedly grabbed the player's genitals, the player stood up and said the woman was "touching" him before making his way to the rear of the plane to find a flight attendant.

During that time, the woman moved seats to be closer to John Doe 2 and grabbed his leg and groin area, according to the lawsuit. A flight attendant then came over and asked, "Is this the same lady?" before the woman was moved to another row, the lawsuit states.

The woman, whose identity remains unknown, admitted that she was drinking and had taken pills, according to the lawsuit.

Both men were presented with $150 vouchers, however, lawyers for them say they were not properly protected even after complaining.

The men were "put at unnecessary risk of harm and in many cases suffered and continue to suffer great pain of mind and body, shock, emotional distress, physical manifestations of emotional distress including depression, anxiety, humiliation, loss of enjoyment of life, and fear of flying and travel," according to the lawsuit.

"We bring this lawsuit with the hope that it will be one of the last of its kind," the lawyers for the men said in a statement to ABC News. "Our wish would be that in the future no passengers' multiple warnings and complaints to flight attendants, the onboard authority figures, will go unheeded until it's too late and the damage has been done."

They are seeking punitive damages for multiple claims, including sexual assault, sexual battery, battery and negligence.

The defendants in the lawsuit are United Airlines and multiple unnamed flight attendants.

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved

jetcityimage/iStockBy KELLY MCCARTHY, ABC News

(NEW YORK) -- The NCAA has good news for college football and basketball players who have been sidelined like so many due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Division I student-athletes for both sports have been given the green light to participate in on-campus voluntary athletics activities starting June 1 as long as local, state and federal regulations are followed, the organization decided in a virtual meeting on Wednesday.

The Division I Council also extended its blanket waiver that allows teams to require eight hours per week of virtual nonphysical activities through the end of June for students who aren't able to return to campus just yet.

“We encourage each school to use its discretion to make the best decisions possible for football and basketball student-athletes within the appropriate resocialization framework,” Council chair M. Grace Calhoun said in a press release. “Allowing for voluntary athletics activity acknowledges that reopening our campuses will be an individual decision but should be based on advice from medical experts.”

Coaches are not allowed to be present unless a sport-specific safety exception allows it, and activity cannot be directed by a coach or reported back to a coach.

A decision for other sports and activities is expected to be made soon.

The Council also recognized that each student-athletes' circumstance varies and "remains committed to providing appropriate flexibility to support students, schools and conferences during these challenging times."

Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.

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