The University of Alabama and Auburn University football programs can resume team training June 8, the date the Southeastern Conference said today is the soonest member schools can resume workouts.
The voluntary strength and conditioning programs allowed by the NCAA starting as soon as June 1 come with stipulations and precautions due the COVID-19 pandemic that ended organized college athletics in March, but it does put football programs on track to begin on schedule in the upcoming season.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the plan is to start college football on time, which is slated to start Aug. 29.
“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.
The SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force helped guide the move. The task force was created by the SEC’s presidents and chancellors in April and is comprised of a cross-section of leading public health, infectious disease and sports medicine professionals from across the SEC’s 14 member institutions. The SEC said the task force will remain active to provide continued advice and guidance to the conference and its members as they prepare for a return to competition.
Strength and conditioning training is essential before beginning organized practices and Sankey said it’s best done at the schools.
“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, Sankey said.