FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The SEC took another step towards the return of college sports on Friday. The presidents and chancellors of member schools voted to re-open athletic facilities for voluntary workouts starting on June 8th. This followed a vote from the NCAA to allow schools to resume voluntary activities June 1st. The SEC is the first major conference to follow up by allowing athletes to return.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey released a statement, saying "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. 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."
Several guidelines will be imposed, including:
-Enhanced education of all team members on health and wellness best practices, including but not limited to preventing the spread of COVID-19
-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
Arkansas coaches, including Sam Pittman, Eric Musselman, and Mike Neighbors, released statements reacting to the news.