The Southeastern Conference announced Friday that “voluntary in-person athletics” may resume on June 8 at the preference of each SEC school. This comes after the NCAA approved resuming athletic activities in football and men’s and women’s basketball on Wednesday.
The announcement ends a two-month period of inactivity in SEC athletics after the conference canceled spring sports in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These athletic activities will be under plans made by each university, aligning with state and local health instructions.
"Based on the decision today by the Southeastern Conference Presidents and Chancellors, the University of South Carolina will be ready to host football student-athletes on campus for voluntary workouts on June 8," South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner said in a press release. "They will be on campus several days before to get tested for the COVID-19 virus."
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey echoed Tanner’s statement, saying the safety of student-athletes and other athletic personnel is the conference’s “guiding principle” when making decisions such as these.
To maintain the safety of these individuals, South Carolina released a set of protocols and procedures on Friday afternoon.
Among these protocols is a COVID-19 and antibody test that all Gamecock student-athletes will take upon arrival on campus. Any athlete who tests positive for the virus, will be “isolated away from the team and either return home or remain on campus until the end of the isolation period.”
A daily medical check, which includes a list of symptoms and a temperature check, will also be given to student-athletes and staff members before they enter the Long Family Football Operations Building.
Within such facilities, student-athletes and other personnel will be required to wear face coverings in public spaces, and touch surfaces will be disinfected daily.
Sankey also stated the SEC is preparing for fall sports to go on as scheduled and that “this limited resumption of voluntary athletic activities on June 8 is an important initial step in that process.”
Despite this resumption, organized practices and other required physical activities are still not allowed, according to NCAA regulations. In-person camps and coaches clinics in the SEC will remain suspended through July 31.
This story was updated to reflect new information on May 22 at 4:45 p.m.