SEC to allow voluntary in-person athletics activities beginning June 8
The Southeastern Conference (SEC) on Friday announced that voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume on SEC campuses, at the discretion of each university, beginning June 8.
The resumption of these voluntary activities must come under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution.
Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SEC had previously suspended all athletics activities through May 31. A transition period will now begin June 8, with certain activities to be permitted based on the ability to participate in controlled and safe environments, while also maintaining recommended social distancing measures.
Leading public health, infectious disease and sports medicine professionals from across the SEC’s 14-member institutions were consulted in formulating the conference’s plan.
You can read more details from the SEC’s announcement here.
During the month of June, current NCAA regulations will permit only strength and conditioning personnel to supervise voluntary on-campus athletics activities in the sports of football and men’s and women’s basketball. A current waiver that permits eight hours of virtual film review has been extended through June 30 for football and basketball.
Consistent with NCAA regulations, organized practices and other required physical activities remain prohibited in all SEC sports. A previously announced suspension of in-person camps and coaches clinics conducted by SEC institutions remains in effect until July 31.
Reacting to the SEC’s announcement, Auburn University Athletic Director Allen Greene said, “As always, the health and well-being of our student-athletes and the Auburn family remains our highest priority. We support the SEC presidents and chancellors’ decision to reopen our facilities for voluntary in-person athletics activities. Through extensive collaboration, campus colleagues have developed plans to safely manage the return of our student-athletes. To build on this momentum, it is imperative that we proceed with a great deal of discipline and flexibility, with the end goal of conducting fall activities as previously scheduled.”
Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn added, “We appreciate the SEC presidents and chancellors’ decision to allow voluntary in-person athletic activities beginning June 8. The SEC and Auburn leadership have been tremendous through this process and we appreciate the efforts of the SEC Task Force which includes our team physician, Dr. Michael Goodlett. 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.”
University of Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne said in a statement, “The health and safety of everyone, including our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans has been, and will continue to be at the forefront as we prepare to return. We appreciate the leadership and guidance of the Southeastern Conference and its Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force throughout this situation to best equip our campuses with educational materials and recommendations on best practices.”
“Resumption of voluntary in-person activity is an important step in moving us towards the fall athletic season, which we are fully preparing for with a phased approach beginning June 8. In addition to our public health officials, we are fortunate to have an elite sports medicine staff here at Alabama, from our athletic trainers to our team doctors that we will continue to take direction from as we make decisions for a safe return,” he continued. “We look forward to welcoming back our student-athletes, coaches and staff to campus.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn