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SEC to allow voluntary in-person athletic activities to return June 8

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - The SEC announced that all schools in its conference will be able to return to in-person athletic events, including team meetings, workouts, etc. on June 8.

Mizzou Athletic Director Jim Sterk said, "The health, safety and well-being of Mizzou's student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans is paramount and will be at the forefront in our decision-making process regarding the challenges we face with the COVID-19 pandemic. For well over a month, our internal Mizzou Sports Park repopulation committee has worked with MU Health Care, University, city and county officials to design a comprehensive plan for safely bringing student-athletes back to campus next month in anticipation of resuming workouts."

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the SEC had suspended all athletics activities through May 31.  Starting June 8, players and coaches will begin to return. This comes after the NCAA permitting voluntary athletic activities starting June 1 under social distancing guidelines.

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said, "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," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.  "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."

The SEC created the Conference's Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force, and put together special measures to work toward safely returning to play:

  • 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 that involves 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

Sterk said, "Our goal remains an on time start to the fall sports season for all of our teams, and having football, men's basketball and women's basketball players return June 8 for voluntary workouts is the first step on that journey forward in today's challenging climate. I expect that at some point down the road the NCAA and SEC will allow student-athletes from other sports to return, and when they do, we will likely phase those in starting with the remaining fall sports teams."

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Tyler Murry

Tyler Murry is a sports reporter and anchor. He has lived in Columbia since 2013 and worked at ABC 17 News since 2017.

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