The SEC announced Friday that voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume on campuses at the discretion of each university beginning June 8 under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution.
During the month of June, NCAA regulations permit only strength and conditioning personnel to supervise voluntary on-campus athletics activities in the sports of football and men’s & 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 sports.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes is our top priority,” said Scott Woodward, Director of Athletics. “We believe our student-athletes can and will receive the best possible care under the daily and strict supervision of our medical personnel and athletic trainers and in a facility designed to accommodate the unique needs of elite-level athletes.”
Nobody on the LSU campus is happier to get the green light from the SEC than LSU head football coach Ed Oregron.
“I want to thank Scott Woodward and Greg Sankey for putting us in a position to get our team back on campus,” said Orgeron said. “Our administration has worked very hard to make sure that all of the necessary safety procedures and protocols are in place to keep our team safe and healthy. This is a great first step to take in order for us to get back to playing the great game of college football in the fall.”
The decision to resume athletics activities was made with the guidance of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force, which was created by the SEC’s Presidents and Chancellors in April. The task force is comprised of a cross-section of leading public health, infectious disease and sports medicine professionals from across the SEC’s 14 member institutions. It will remain active to provide continued advice and guidance to the SEC and its members as they prepare for a return to competition.
“The safe and healthy return of our student-athletes, coaches, administrators and our greater university communities have been and will continue to serve as our guiding principle as we navigate this complex and constantly-evolving situation,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “At this time, we are preparing to begin the fall sports season as currently scheduled, and this limited resumption of voluntary athletic activities on June 8 is an important initial step in that process.
“Thanks to the blueprint established by our Task Force and the dedicated efforts of our universities and their athletics programs, we will be able to provide our student-athletes with far better health and wellness education, medical and psychological care and supervision than they would otherwise receive on their own while off campus or training at public facilities as states continue to reopen.”
As part of its recommendations, the Task Force prepared a series of best practices for screening, testing, monitoring, tracing, social distancing and maintaining cleaned environments. These recommendations will serve as a roadmap for each school prior to and upon the return of student-athletes to their campuses.
In addition to standard infection prevention measures as approved by public health authorities such as facility cleaning and social distancing, recommended enhanced health and safety measures include:
- Enhanced education of all team members on health and wellness best practices, including but not limited to preventing the spread of COVID-19
- 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
- Testing of symptomatic team members (including all student-athletes, coaches, team support and other appropriate individuals)
- Immediate isolation of team members who are under investigation or diagnosed with COVID-19 followed by contact tracing, following CDC and local public health guidelines
- A transition period that allows student-athletes to gradually adapt to full training and sport activity following a period of inactivity