SEC sets date for voluntary workouts in glimmer of college football hope

Could college football actually be starting on time?

The nation’s premier conference is taking action to be ready to do so.

SEC athletes are being allowed to return to campus for voluntary workouts beginning on June 8, after school presidents voted on the matter in the midst of the novel coronavirus pandemic. This comes after the NCAA voted on Wednesday not to extend its ban on voluntary workouts past May 31. Other conferences don’t have a ban, allowing each school to decide independently. Ohio State announced it would reopen campus on June 9 and Illinois said athletes would be allowed to return to school on June 3.

“This is an important first step toward having a season this fall, and we will continue to collectively work together as our top priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said in a school-issued statement.

The SEC called it a “transition period that allows student-athletes to gradually adapt to full training and sport activity following a period of inactivity.” Organized practices, however, are still not allowed. Athletes will be “under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines” created by each school.

As part of the guidelines for reopening, student-athletes will be given a three-stage screening process that includes when they arrive on campus, within 72 hours of entering athletic facilities and on a daily basis of athletic activities. Only those dealing with coronavirus symptoms will be tested.

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