The SEC announced Friday, May 22, student-athletes in football and men’s and women’s basketball can train "under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution," according to The Advocate.
After the initial shutdown off all athletic activities, players trained by themselves under no supervision besides authorized video communication with their coaches.
"At this time, we are preparing to begin the fall sports season as currently scheduled,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement, “and this limited resumption of voluntary athletic activities on June 8 is an important initial step in that process.”
Beginning June 8, players may begin training with strength and conditioning coaches until June 30, according to NCAA regulations. The schools will enter a transition period to ease student-athletes back into their sports after months of inactivity. Practices and other organized activities are still suspended.
Though individual schools can make separate plans for bringing student-athletes back to campus, the Medical Guidance Task Force, a group of public health leaders, infectious disease experts and sports medicine professionals from across the conference, set a series of guidelines in addition to standard infection prevention measures. The steps are as follows:
- 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 involving 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