NCAA Permits Voluntary Athletic Activities For All Division I Sports To Begin June 1


Division I student-athletes in all sports will be permitted to participate in voluntary athletic activities beginning June 1, the NCAA announced on Friday.

The Division I Council voted electronically on the measure this week as states gradually begin re-opening from shutdown orders employed to help halt the spread of Covid-19. Previously, it was announced only football and men’s and women’s basketball were allowed to return.

The current waiver allowing for eight hours of required virtual nonphysical activities in all sports also was extended by the Council.

“The return of voluntary activity in addition to the extension of the waiver to allow virtual, nonphysical activity shows the sensitivity to local, state and regional differences in how Division I campuses are reopening,” Council chair M. Grace Calhoun, the athletics director at the University of Pennsylvania, said in a release. “We will continue to be considerate of these differences with wise and flexible administration of our regulations, and we expect schools to keep the well-being of student-athletes as a priority.”

Also on Friday, the Southeastern Conference announced voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume on SEC campuses, at the discretion of each university, beginning on June 8. The activities will be under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution.

Due to the impact of Covid-19, the SEC had suspended all athletics activities through May 31. June 8 will begin a transition period that will allow student-athletes to gradually adapt to full training and sports activity after the period of inactivity. 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 said in an official release.

The decision to resume athletic activities was made with the guidance of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force. Created by the SEC’s Presidents and Chancellors in April and comprised of a cross-section of leading public health, infectious disease 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.

As part of its recommendations, the Task Force prepared a series of best practices for screening, testing, monitoring, tracing, social distancing and maintaining cleaned environments.

In addition to standard infection prevention measures such as facility cleaning and social distancing, recommended enhanced health and safety measures include:

  • 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

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