It just means more in the SEC. Nothing means more to the conference at this moment than the recent decision to open up campuses for athletes.
On May 22, the SEC voted to allow schools to open their athletic facilities for individual workouts for football and basketball players. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced the change to take place starting on June 8.
Important figures in the college sports landscape weighed in while the June 8 checkpoint approaches.
Player safety a primary concern
While having athletes on campus is a key step for the SEC, schools must establish essential safety procedures. Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher expressed his thoughts about the vote to open facilities, including his care for his players.
According to Fisher, he also has coronavirus testing for everyone in his program. Because so many athletes are poised to return to campus, it will be interesting to see how each college handles coronavirus testing.
Laura Rutledge reported that a variety of coaches are both giving out coronavirus tests and antibody tests. However, the NCAA only requires basic screening procedures such as checking temperatures and symptoms.
“The actual testing is up to the individual school,” Rutledge said.
This means that schools have the option to forego coronavirus or antibody tests. Officials will closely monitor player health during the fall.
SEC scheduling uncertain
Because of the coronavirus, SEC teams could limit their schedules to travel to less unknown places.
“Whether it’s play no non-conference games, whether you have fans,” Fisher said. “We have to be prepared to do a lot of things.”
Rutledge explained that a shift in scheduling for the college football season could threaten some schools. Colleges that serve as “cupcake” teams for larger universities depend on these games for financial reasons.
“I don’t know how possible it’s going to be for some of those schools to survive if they can’t play football,” Rutledge said.
Regardless of how schedules play out, college sports are likely to look different. Fisher compares adjusting to this unpredictable fall season to coaching a game.
“Be prepared for the unprepared,” Fisher said.
Sound used in this story courtesy of ESPN and ABC Newscall.