Administrators from SEC schools are expected to vote next week on whether to open their athletic facilities as early as June 1, according to multiple athletic administrators. Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that SEC chancellors and presidents will vote on the issue on May 22.
The league formed a medical task force that began meeting in April to provide updates to university administrators. Part of its mission is "guiding the safe return" to on-campus athletic activities. But policy changes must be approved by the league members.
LSU executive deputy athletic director Verge Ausberry told the Louisiana Economic Recovery Task Force on Thursday that the vote by administrators will decide if student-athletes can return to campus on June 1 or June 15, according to the Baton Rouge Advocate. Either outcome would be a move toward normalcy as athletic department officials continue to project optimism about the chances of a fall sports season taking place.
Athletic activities, including practices, individual workouts, meetings "and other organized gatherings, whether voluntary or required" have been suspended by the league because of the COVID-19 pandemic. That suspension is "through at least May 31," according to a memo from the league posted on its website earlier this month, meaning June 1 was expected to be the earliest date facilities could re-open.
"As the Southeastern Conference office continues to closely monitor and learn about COVID-19 and associated public health information, this task force of medical professionals has begun to provide the guidance necessary to make decisions related to the return to athletics activities for SEC student-athletes and to assist in our collaboration with colleague conferences in determining a safe return to athletics competition," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a Thursday news release. "The expertise of these medical professionals is playing an important role in our continuing focus on the health and well-being of SEC student-athletes."