SEC begins coronavirus comeback, will allow voluntary college athlete workouts

Ross Houston
May 23, 2020

NCAA regulations now allow only strength and conditioning coaches to work with athletes during the voluntary workouts, along with eight hours of virtual film review through June 30. Other conferences are expected to follow, though decisions could be left to individual schools.

The SEC made a decision to resume athletic activities with the guidance of a league task force that includes public health, infectious disease and sports medicine professionals from each of the league's 14 member schools.

Consistent with NCAA regulations, organized practices and other required physical activities remain prohibited in all sports.

"At this time, we are preparing to begin the fall sports season as now scheduled, and this limited resumption of voluntary athletic activities on June 8 is an important initial step in that process", SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.

With a target date set for June 8, it will be a transition period allowing student-athletes to "gradually adapt to full training and sports activity after this recent period of inactivity".

The Southeastern Conference announced Friday voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume beginning June 8.

"As always, the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and community is our first priority", Kris Petersen, associate athletics director for strategic communications, said in response to ruling earlier this week. It stressed the need for controlled, safe environments and continued social distancing.

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.

Facilities will reopen with a number of enhanced safety protocols in place, including educational sessions on best practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19, a thorough health screening process for athletes and testing of those who display symptoms.

"For well over a month, our internal Mizzou Sports Park repopulation committee has worked with MU Health Care, University, city and county officials to design a comprehensive plan for safely bringing student-athletes back to campus next month in anticipation of resuming workouts".

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday he thinks college football will return on schedule with at least some spectators.

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

Other reports by iNewsToday