The Southeastern Conference announced Friday that it will be allowing on-campus workouts starting June 8 at schools across the conference, including at Auburn.
The league’s decision comes after the NCAA announced it will lift its ban on on-campus activities only for football and basketball teams starting June 1. It also follows Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s amendments to safer-at-home orders this week, which legally lifted a bar on athletics activities on May 22.
Full practices are still banned by the NCAA, and only strength and conditioning personnel will be allowed to supervise workouts.
The SEC insists June 8 starts a “transition period” allowing athletes to get back in shape and better prepared for seasons this fall.
The end goal, Auburn athletics director Allen Greene said in a statement, is to conduct fall activities as scheduled.
“Look forward to having our guys back June 8!” Auburn head football coach Gus Malzahn posted to Twitter on Friday.
Greene’s statement put Auburn’s support behind the SEC’s decision to open facilities.
The SEC had suspended all activities through May 31 due to the impact of COVID-19.
The SEC sent out a list of recommendations for schools to follow that promote social distancing, screening, testing and sanitation to curve the spread of the disease, however the recommendations do not appear to be required or enforceable.
Still, Greene insists Auburn will implement safety measures.
“Through extensive collaboration, campus colleagues have developed plans to safely manage the return of our student-athletes,” Greene said in his statement released Friday. “To build on this momentum, it is imperative that we proceed with a great deal of discipline and flexibility, with the end goal of conducting fall activities as previously scheduled.”
Auburn’s fall classes are set to open Aug. 17. Like most schools across the country, Auburn still plans to open its campus in the fall.
“This is an important first step toward having a season this fall,” Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn said in a statement, “and we will continue to collectively work together as our top priority is to ensure the safety and well-being of our student-athletes, coaches and staff.”