The Southeastern Conference's two and a half month sports hiatus due to COVID-19 is set to end soon with universities being allowed to bring student athletes back on campus Jun. 8.
"Voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume on Southeastern Conference campuses, at the discretion of each university, beginning June 8 under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution," the SEC announced in a statement Friday.
"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 added. "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.
The conference put out loose parameters and guidelines for returning to campus including facility cleaning, social distancing, a three-stage screening process, heavy testing and, "a transition period that allows student-athletes to gradually adapt to full training and sport activity following a period of inactivity."
While these guidelines were provided by the SEC, each school is responsible for implementing specific plans for the return of student athletes.
"While each institution will make its own decisions in creating defined plans to safely return student-athletes to activity, it is essential to employ a collaborative approach that involves input from public health officials, coaches, sports medicine staff, sports performance personnel and student-athletes," Sankey said. "Elements of the Task Force recommendations provided key guidance for determining the date of the return to activity."
According to preset NCAA and SEC regulations, organized practices, in-person camps and coaching clinics remain banned through July 31.