BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (December 22, 2020) - The Southeastern Conference has announced its COVID-19 management requirements for basketball and other winter sports as recommended by the SEC's Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force.
The Task Force has met frequently since April to review and discuss information associated with the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on developing policies and protocols to guide membership decisions related to the healthy return of athletics activities, including team gatherings, practices, conditioning and competition, for SEC student-athletes and others associated with SEC athletics programs.
The SEC's initial management requirements for football and other fall sports was announced in early August and has been regularly updated based on information and developments around COVID-19.
The Task Force's initial requirements for winter SEC sports include testing requirements, procedures for infections and contact tracing, and protocols for quarantine and isolation. Similar requirements will be developed for spring SEC sports before their competition seasons begin.
Due to the constantly changing realities around the pandemic, the requirements and testing strategies developed by the Task Force will continue to be reviewed and updated as new information becomes available. The requirements are being developed as minimum standards for SEC programs to enact and serve to build on recommendations of the Autonomy 5 Medical Advisory Group and the NCAA's Resocialization of College Sports Guidelines.
- The SEC will coordinate centralized testing through third-party provider PAE to ensure consistency in surveillance and pre-competition testing. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the current standard testing method for the COVID-19 virus. Alternative testing methods may be considered if sufficient data develops to support those methods.
- In the sport of basketball, student-athletes and others in direct contact with the program will receive a PCR surveillance test three times weekly on non-consecutive days, with one test to occur no more than three days prior to competition.
- In the sports of swimming & diving and indoor track & field, student-athletes and others in direct contact with the program will receive a PCR surveillance test at least once weekly during competition, with one test to occur no more than three days prior to competition.
- In the sport of equestrian and gymnastics, student-athletes and others in direct contact with the program will receive a PCR surveillance test no more than three days prior to the first competition of the week.
- In basketball, gymnastics, swimming & diving and indoor track & field all coaches, staff and non-competing personnel will be required to wear face coverings and physical distancing will be employed to the extent possible.
- In equestrian, all coaches, staff and competing student-athletes and non-competing student-athletes are required to wear a face covering when physical distancing cannot be achieved when competition is held outdoors. All coaches, staff and non-competing student-athletes are required to wear a face covering for competition held indoors. Physical distancing should be employed to the extent possible.
- Each institution is required to designate a COVID-19 Protocol Oversight Officer who will be responsible for education and ensuring compliance with the SEC's COVID-19 management requirements.
- The full SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Requirements for COVID-19 Management of Winter Sports can be found here.