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Badgers football returns for voluntary workouts

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The University of Wisconsin football practice fields were empty all spring.

"If you try to take the approach of, 'We need to make up for spring ball,' spring ball was lost," head coach Paul Chryst says of the cancellation of spring football.

The team is back now with 100 out of 123 players reporting early this week for voluntary workouts.

"It's a different environment than many of us have grown accustomed to in terms of social distancing and the parameters that we've set up," explains strength and conditioning coach Ross Kolodziej.

The athletic department has set up health protocols to avoid the fate of a school like the University of Houston. The Cougars had to suspend voluntary workouts after six athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

"Until there's a vaccine or until there's anything that changes in that regard, the risk in this doesn't change," says Kolodziej. "So, we're still relying on everyone to abide by the protocols."

The NCAA recently ruled schools can make workouts mandatory in mid-July with preseason practices beginning the first week of August.

"How do we take advantage of what's allowable and get them ready for the season," reflects Chryst.

The Badgers recently announced a season-ticket renewal rate of 85 percent. Still, no decision has yet been made about fan attendance. For now, Chryst and his crew are taking it day-by-day.

"A lot of things that are out of our control and, as everyone knows, there's uncertainty to it, but I think the things we can do right now and I think that's planning for the season."

The schedule is still in place for now, including the Notre Dame game on October 3rd at Lambeau Field. Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez said this week he has not had discussions with Notre Dame about moving that game.

Lance Veeser

Sports Director, 27 News

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