SEC Votes to End Moratorium, Allow Student-Athletes Back on Campus Starting June 8, How LSU Is Preparing
On Wednesday, the first domino fell as the NCAA voted to lift the moratorium of on-campus activities starting June 1. Friday, the SEC announced that June 8 would be the earliest student-athletes would be allowed to start voluntarily working out in team facilities.
“Voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume on Southeastern Conference campuses, at the discretion of each university, beginning June 8 under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution,” the SEC announced Friday.
Shortly after the decision, LSU interim president Tom Galligan said the university would be ready to have athletes back with “stringent health protocols in place.”
The SEC recommended the following health measures be taken by each university:
- 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
“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,” commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement.
“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.”
For LSU, the target date was June 1 as athletic director Scott Woodward and coach Ed Orgeron have been preparing for this step for weeks. There was always the option the SEC would decide to make the return date a little later, which Woodward and the administration were also prepared for.
“We welcome it, we've been preparing," Orgeron said. "We've been in our offices three weeks as a staff so we're prepared but obviously we're going to follow the proper protocols to make sure out guys are safe."
Included in the SEC’s ruling are football as well as men’s and women’s basketball. A few LSU players have remained in Baton Rouge and more are starting to trickle in little by little.
Strength and conditioning coach Tommy Moffitt said in an interview earlier this week that he expects the incoming freshmen to arrive for the comprehensive physical process first and once cleared, can begin voluntary workouts.
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 and men's & women's basketball.
“Under plans developed by each university and consistent with state and local health directives, certain activities will be permitted based on the ability to participate in controlled and safe environments, while also maintaining recommended social distancing measures,” the SEC stated.