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Alan Bishop, Houston Cougars' Sports Performance Coach - "I mean we're going to be essentially running in three-man groups for the time being."

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UPDATED: May 31, 2020 -- 6:28 p.m. CT

POSTED: May 29, 2020 -- 8:05 p.m. CT

Friday afternoon, University of Houston Athletics Department announced that a portion of student-athletes from football and men's and women's basketball will be allowed to return to campus on June 1 to participate in voluntary athletic activities.

Alan Bishop, UH's Director of Men's Basketball Sports Performance, is ready for June 1.

Friday morning, I had a great conversation with Alan Bishop, the Houston Cougars' Men's Basektball Director of Sports Performance. Bishop provided me so much information, I've divided his comments into 3 articles.

The second article deals with discusses his methodology and the process involved when a player is injured. The third article discusses his path from Utah State to UH.

Bishop joined the UH staff in May 2017. During a typical offseason, the men's basketball team would work out as a team June, July, August, and September. COVID-19 has guaranteed this will not be a typical offseason for anyone.

"This has been a really, really tricky situation to navigate as you can imagine," Bishop said to me. "The toughest part about it is that with our players we typically give them the month of May with some very, very minimalistic things to do. So, I still want them getting work done but if you saw one of the programs I gave them in May, you probably would be like 'This guy doesn't know how to train people.' This is just way too easy. No, exactly.

"We've been going since last June but, typically, we'll hopefully make a deep March run. Give them a couple weeks off to get their legs under them and kind of recharge their batteries. But, then we're still bringing them in; and, we're trying to clean up little tweaks and things. We're still in the weight room working after about a two-week time off. So, now you're talking about we're still training; and, they've only had the month of May off.

"Well, what was different this year is that with the way the NCAA phrased the ruling on it is we were not allowed to have kind of a quote-unquote accountability from a reporting standpoint. So, I couldn't get on a Zoom and have a team Zoom training session. I was not supposed to be watching a kid filming his training and text him back and say 'That looks great. Do this. This and this.'

"I sent out training for the guys to do what they want to do. It's voluntary. I'm checking in. 'How are you guys doing?'

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Bishop described what the protocol / procedures will be with no full team workouts starting June 1.

"It's important to remember we have the best medical group I've ever seen: Memorial Hermann," Bishop remarked. "They're our medical group; and, our doctors, our surgeons, our guys are unbelievable. There's a reason they're working with all the local pro teams as well. We've had incredible insights (from them). We've had 'Hey, this is what the NBA is doing. This is what the NFL is planning. This is what the pro soccer teams around the world are doing.

"We've had a lot of really good insights; and, I think we are way, way ahead of the curve from the standpoint of preparation and being proactive. Now, we also have to follow like the federal and the state guidelines; so, we're not immune from state protocols just because we're a university and we're NCAA. In fact, it's the opposite. The NCAA is saying guys can do their voluntary work. You just have to adhere to local regulations.

"And that's a very simplistic way to put that that's kind of it makes sense. But, for us, normally we will train in a team setting in the month of June. Well, (this year) June is voluntary. So, if guys are not comfortable coming back to campus, we're not forcing players to fly in and come back to campus.

"If they want to be here, it's available. It's voluntary. We can work with them. But you know, these guys are ready to get going, too. We have players who are ready. So, when we train them, we still have to adhere to the social distancing and occupancy guidelines. So, we're going to be the group limit size. So, you can't have a group of larger than 10."

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Bishop continued, "You still got to be six feet apart and not sharing equipment. You got to be at 25 percent occupancy or less.

"And so, you think about it, you say well, that means you could have 10 players. But, it doesn't because if you have social distancing you have one player per hoop with one coach, maybe one manager. Well, now you're up to nine people: three players, three coaches, and then a student manager, and then, an athletic trainer. So, that's 10. And, that's kind of what we're going to operate on moving forward is we'll have three players in a group for the month of June or at least until the guidelines change.

"We'll have three players to a group. We've kind of got them spaced out so that they're not sharing equipment sharing a space.

"We feel like we've got just incredible safeguards in place that if our guys are going to be somewhere training. We'd rather have them in an extremely safe and controlled environment with us than at like an LA Fitness or a Gold's Gym. And so, I mean we're going to be essentially running in three-man groups for the time being. And, as those kinds of guidelines change, we'll update, re-evaluate and will adjust with them. But, we're looking like right now, it's going to be a bunch of small group training sessions."

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