San Jose State to practice outside county due to local coronavirus regulations

Due to local restrictions currently preventing San Jose State from practicing in groups larger than 12, the Spartans will travel to Humboldt State, 320 miles away, to practice ahead of their season opener on Oct. 24.

The team is leaving Friday and will remain there until Santa Clara County approves their return-to-play plan.

"We look forward to continued conversations with Santa Clara County health officials regarding our 'Return to Football' proposal," SJSU athletic director Marie Tuite said in statement. "In the meantime, to prepare to compete at the FBS Division I level, it's imperative that we move from conditioning and skill development practices to team activities. Moving our football program to Humboldt State enables our team to prepare, while our County continues the important work of reviewing and approving our protocols."

Santa Clara County has stated repeatedly over the past two weeks it will wait for the state of California to amend its interim college sports guidelines before it approves plans from either San Jose State or Stanford to conduct practices that include cohorts larger than 12.

"We understand the desire of many sports teams to resume practice, just as many businesses are eager to resume. But the risk of COVID-19's spread in our county remains substantial," the County of Santa Clara said in a statement Wednesday. "The County Public Health Department has outlined the process we are following with respect to any proposal to allow a college football team to practice in the County of Santa Clara.

"We will evaluate each proposal based on the revised guidelines developed by the State of California. Because the State has yet to finalize those guidelines, we are not able to opine on the appropriateness of any proposal at this time."

Counties are not required to follow the state guidelines and have the ability to make determinations about how to proceed on their own, which is why San Jose State is able to practice in Humboldt County. San Diego State, which like San Jose State and Humboldt State is part of the California State University system, has been practicing in two groups of 45-55 players and is scheduled to transition to the entire team in the coming days, according to a spokesman for the program. San Diego County is aware of how the Aztecs are preparing.

A spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health told ESPN Wednesday they had no update beyond what Gov. Gavin Newsom said Sept. 16, when he indicated the state would not stand in the way of college football from taking place, though he only mentioned the Pac-12 specifically.

The four Pac-12 schools in California are impacted the same way as San Jose State, but are optimistic they will get local approval before training camps begin in a week and a half. San Jose State was more pressed for time because the Mountain West schedule starts two weeks before the Pac-12.

San Jose State players will continue to attend class online, as they have been since the semester began in August. The team will be housed in Humboldt State's on-campus housing and will be tested for COVID-19 once a week until the Mountain West requires testing three times a week ahead of the Oct. 24.

The Mountain West is expected to release its schedule later this week.