SEC Sports to Reopen June 8; Symptomatic Players to Be Tested for COVID-19

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 22, 2020

COLUMBIA, SC - SEPTEMBER 01: A detail view of the SEC logo on a field marker during the game between the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers and the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Lance King/Getty Images)
Lance King/Getty Images

The SEC announced Friday it will reopen athletic facilities for voluntary workouts starting June 8.

Workouts will be monitored under the "strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution." Each school will also follow "standard infection prevention measures as approved by public health authorities," in addition to other safety measures.

Those measures include a three-step screening process that will see players, coaches and team support staff screened before they arrive on campus, within 72 hours after they first enter athletic facilities and each day once activities resume. The conference also said testing will be completed on any symptomatic student-athletes, coaches or staff.

The SEC's move is the latest step toward potentially bringing college sports back this fall.

On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council decided that student-athletes in football and basketball will be allowed to participate in voluntary on-campus activities "as long as all local, state and federal regulations are followed" starting June 1.

Some conferences across the country have their own on-campus moratoriums, but Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger noted those conferences "are all expected" to lift those rules when they begin voting on allowing student-athletes back.

Dellenger wrote about the "new normal" for college athletics when student-athletes are able to return for voluntary workouts:

"Coaches and staff members in masks and gloves. Temperature tests at the front door. Hand sanitizing stations around every corner. Weight room squat racks 20 feet apart. Stairwells with one-way movement, a set for going up and another for going down. Elevators with a maximum occupancy of two. Nutrition stations offering only packaged snacks.

"At least in the beginning, some schools won't allow access to showers. There will be no passing a football back and forth either, at least early on."

The SEC is the first Power Five conference to lift an on-campus moratorium. Even though student-athletes will be allowed to take part in voluntary workouts, it remains unclear if the fall sports schedule will be delayed.

Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby told ESPN's Heather Dinich this week that the conference would have to be "up and running" by mid-July in order to start the football season on time.

Opening week for the 2020 college football season is scheduled for Aug. 29.