SEC to Permit Voluntary In-Person Athletics Activities Beginning June 8

SEC to Permit Voluntary In-Person Athletics Activities Beginning June 8
South Carolina announced a home-and-home series with Virginia Tech for 2034 and 2035. (Source: WIS)

COLUMBIA, SC - Voluntary in-person athletics activities will resume at The University of South Carolina beginning on June 8, under protocols and procedures that have been developed by the Gamecocks Athletics Department and medical advisors, Athletics Director Ray Tanner announced today.

"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," said Tanner. "They will return to campus several days before to get tested for the COVID-19 virus. We are excited to have our student-athletes back on campus. Their health, safety and well-being are our number one priority. Our staff and medical team have developed a thorough set of protocols that exceed CDC guidelines and will help our student-athletes through the transition back to campus."

Due to the impact of COVID-19, the SEC had suspended all athletics activities through May 31. June 1 will begin a transition period that will allow student-athletes to get tested for the virus on campus as well as gradually adapt to the full training and sports activities.

The decision by the SEC Presidents and Chancellors to resume athletics activities, which at this time is limited by the NCAA to voluntary activities supervised by strength and conditioning personnel, was made with the guidance of the Conference's Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force. The group is comprised of a cross-section of leading public health and sports medicine professionals from across the SEC's 14-member institutions. The Task Force will remain active to provide continued advice and guidance to the SEC and its members as they prepare for a return to competition. Dr. Zoë Foster, athletics team physician, is the University of South Carolina's representative on the Task Force.

Highlighted among the protocols that have been developed for Gamecock student-athletes are:

Student-athletes will receive a COVID-19 and antibody test upon arrival on campus. They will also receive a daily symptoms and temperature check and trace contacting will take place.

All facilities used by student-athletes have undergone a strict cleaning process to ensure they have been fully disinfected and will include additional hand sanitizing stations.

All student-athletes and staff are required to wear face coverings in public spaces and wash their hands frequently.

Physical distancing with staff and student-athletes will be emphasized.

There are extensive educational efforts including videos, in-person communication and signage.

Procedures in place of a student-athlete or staff members shows symptoms of the virus. Student-athletes will also be set up in "clusters" for all activities as to keep a possible positive inside the small unit rather than impacting the entire group.

During the month of June, NCAA regulations permit only strength and conditioning personnel to supervise voluntary on-campus athletics activities in the sports of football, as well as men's and women's basketball. A current waiver that permits eight (8) hours of virtual film review has been extended through June 30 for football and basketball.

Consistent with NCAA regulations, organized practices and other required physical activities remain prohibited in all sports. A previously announced suspension of in-person camps and coaches clinics conducted by SEC institutions remains in effect until July 31.