SEC to resume voluntary in-person athletics activities beginning June 8

Tanya Simon
May 23, 2020

The SEC called it a "transition period that allows student-athletes to gradually adapt to full training and sport activity following a period of inactivity".

The SEC announced Friday it will allow student-athletes to resume voluntary in-person athletic activities starting on June 8.

At present, NCAA rules prevent schools from holding organized workouts and other required activities.

The SEC initially announced Friday that voluntary in-person activities could resume June 8 on SEC campuses only for football, men's basketball and women's basketball.

The SEC suspended all athletic activities through May 31 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Illini are targeting a mid-June return, while the Buckeyes plan to begin practicing on Monday, June 8 pending university approval.

"This is an important first step toward having a season this fall, and we will continue to collectively work together as our top priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff", Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said in a school-issued statement.

The task force prepared a series of best practices for screening, testing, monitoring, tracing, social distancing and maintaining clean environments to serve as a guide for each school.

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Voluntary workouts entail that teams have no on-field coaches, but strength staff members could supervise - there is an exception for swim coaches, however, for safety precautions.

"We encourage each school to use its discretion to make the best decisions possible for football and basketball student-athletes within the appropriate re-socialization framework", the NCAA's council chair and Penn athletic director M. Grace Calhoun said.

The Task Force will remain active to provide continued advice and guidance to the SEC and its members as they prepare for a return to competition.

A 3-stage screening process that involves screening before student-athletes arrive on campus, within 72 hours of entering athletics facilities and on a daily basis upon resumption of athletics activities. The decision brings to end a moratorium on such activities that was in place through May 31, with the ruling made in guidance with the conference's Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force.

"Football, volleyball and soccer teams will return in phases within those teams in the month of June", he said in a release.

SEC programs include several college football powerhouses, including the University of Alabama and Louisiana State University.

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