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AD James: Face Masks For Fall Sports

AD James: Face Masks For Fall Sports

For Blake James, Miami’s Director of Athletics, the safety and well-being of Hurricanes student-athletes and staff has been paramount from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A top-10 baseball team was preparing for its first ACC road trip of the year when sports came to a screeching halt. The diving team had just completed NCAA Zone qualifiers, with five Hurricanes set to compete in the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships. Four members of the track and field team were set to compete at the NCAA Indoor National Championships. And Miami’s football team had just finished its fourth spring practice on campus, while other teams and coaches scattered across the country raced to return to Coral Gables.

In the months since sports were paused and every NCAA postseason event including the College World Series was canceled, James has made it a priority to make sure Miami’s student-athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers do their part to stay safe and curb the recent spike of COVID-19 cases in South Florida and beyond.

James’ focus has shifted to the south Florida community – including Miami’s own student-athletes, coaches, staff and volunteers – doing their part to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

His latest message extends to the community beyond Miami’s campus, too.

To listen to Blake James’ full interview on the Joe Rose Show, use the audio player below:

“Hopefully the message we have people take out of this, is if we want college sports…we just need everyone to buy into the guidelines that the government expects are putting out there,” James told the Joe Rose Show on Wednesday morning. “Whether those change or become different, regardless, we need people to follow those and really do all we can to bring an end to this.”

Sixty-five Hurricanes football players returned to campus on June 15 to begin voluntary small-group workouts. A week later, Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis, a Miami alum, stopped by campus to donate more than 1,200 masks, 350 gallons of hand sanitizer and 100 face shields in an effort to help keep the Hurricanes safe.

But Miami’s efforts haven’t stopped there. With the first day of NCAA-sanctioned workouts looming later this month, James said much of the department’s concentration has been on the changing of habits – especially when away from campus.

“There has been a push for everyone to wear masks at every opportunity they can,” James said. “I think it’s a thing that we’ve talked with our young people, both in our men’s and women’s sports, is what they’re doing when they’re away from our facility.

“When they’re in our facility, I’m confident that they’re going to be following all the rules we’ve put in place, to social distancing to unnecessary contact with others to sanitary programs to obviously wearing their mask. But when they go home, and they’re out in the community, and they’re with friends that are either with the program or are not involved in the program, or they’re with their family or whatever it is…are they [following] the steps that we’re working with them to be actively participating when they’re in our facility?”