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CU AD Rick George 'more optimistic' about fall sports happening after 'big shifts'

In a conference call Thursday, George cited the progress of professional sports leagues around the country as positive steps for the return of college athletics.
Credit: AP
Colorado Buffaloes athletic director Rick George in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 11, 2017, in Boulder, Colo. USC won 38-24. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

BOULDER, Colo. — University of Colorado athletic director Rick George is feeling better about the possibility of fall sports happening, including football, than he has in awhile. 

"I'm more optimistic today than I was 6-8 weeks ago," George said on a conference call Thursday afternoon with local reporters. 

When asked why, George cited several reasons to be hopeful. 

"We've had a couple, what I consider, big shifts. Number one, I think the Chancellor's announcement (about in-person learning in the fall at CU) was significant. Having students on our campus and having a learning experience is important. Our student athletes are part of that. To me that was a real positive as I look at the fall," George said. 

RELATED: Here is CU Boulder's plan for the fall semester

Not only is CU bringing back students, but the NCAA relaxed its rules last week when it comes to what student-athletes can do this summer. 

"Also the announcements that have been made around the country, the fact the NCAA allowed student-athletes to come back to campus for voluntary workouts beginning June 1 I think was an important step. Then for (the PAC-12 to allow) us to bring back student-athletes June 15 is great. At least we have a date that we can plan on and what that will look like," George said.

RELATED: NCAA to lift ban on football, basketball workouts effective June 1

Even the return of sports around the country, albeit in a non-traditional way, has George optimistic about college athletics moving forward this fall. 

"I think the fact that NASCAR started in a way, and even though there were no fans there, the evolution of what that will look like in the future I think that's a positive," George said. 

He went on to cite the NFL, MLB and NBA all making "progress" as reasons for hope. 

George said currently CU has 133 student-athletes on campus, including at least one representative from every sport. He expects that number to rise significantly in the coming days and weeks. 

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