Despite the low risk for college athletes, the SEC on Friday afternoon announced that if any of them want to sit out due to the covid-19 situation, they can remain on scholarship.
The action is the result of a unanimous vote of the SEC’s presidents and chancellors following a recommendation of the conference’s athletics directors.
“SEC universities are committed to full support of its student-athletes, whether or not a student-athlete decides to participate in sports during these uncertain times,” said SEC commissioner Greg Sankey in a press release. “SEC student-athletes have frequently expressed their desire to compete, but it is important for student-athletes and their families to know the financial support committed to them by their institutions will not be at risk because of health concerns presented by the current pandemic.”
Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek also released a statement in support of the action:
“The announcement today by the Southeastern Conference that scholarships will be honored for student-athletes, regardless of whether they compete in the fall semester, aligns with the University of Arkansas’ commitment to the 465+ student-athletes within our program. In these extraordinary times, we remain focused on our mission of developing champions and Razorbacks for life. I anticipate that a majority of our student-athletes will choose to compete this year, if given the opportunity to do so. However, it is important for our student-athletes to know if they choose not to participate due to personal concerns related to the pandemic, they will continue to be supported.”
The SEC will continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19 to determine at a later date if the policy should be extended to the spring semester of 2021 or beyond.
The statistical numbers show a mortality ray slightly above zero for people under the age of 25 and, as of Friday, no athletes that reported back to colleges and universities has died.
Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek said Thursday afternoon they had “less than 10” athletes test positive for the virus and just two staff members.
He added only one had symptoms that lasted about 24 hours.