The Pac-12 Conference will allow student-athletes from all sports to return to their home campuses and begin voluntary athletic workouts June 15, it announced Tuesday. The decision to return is subject to any restrictions put in place by local governments and the campuses themselves.
The announcement comes less than a week after the NCAA ruled that all sports could begin voluntary workouts on June 1. During the month of June, NCAA rules permit only strength and conditioning personnel to supervise athletics activities. Organized practices and other required physical activities remain prohibited in all sports.
“The Pac-12 decision was informed by a comprehensive set of best practice guidelines and protocols established by the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee,” the announcement said. “The Medical Advisory Committee includes a cross-section of the world’s leading infectious disease experts, physicians, researchers and trainers connected to Pac-12 universities.”
The announcement includes recommendations from the advisory committee regarding returning to campuses, returning to athletic facilities, facility-specific considerations, returning to exercise and responding to infection. The recommendations say that on arrival to campus, students who flew should consider isolating for seven days prior to returning to athletic facilities.
Here is a summary of the Pac-12 COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee’s detailed recommended protocols that have been shared with Pac-12 universities: pic.twitter.com/OkV9cyywPH
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) May 26, 2020
“The Pac-12 is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes, and the decision to allow for voluntary workouts, subject to a determination by each school, is guided by the advice of our medical experts and will be supported by the detailed protocols established by our medical advisory committee in concert with our campus’ own safety guidelines,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. “As states have either already opened or begin to open up access to parks, gyms and other training facilities, student-athletes should have the option at this time to be in, what for many, will be a much safer environment on campus, where they can have access to the best available health, well-being and training support.”
What this means for swimming, which by its nature could be considered a ‘strength & conditioning’ activity, is not yet clear. Many swim programs have explored the possibility of using a club team loophole to get their athletes back together. With many NCAA coaches also serving as coaches with USA Swimming member clubs, it’s possible that they will be able to hold practices for their USA Swimming member clubs that are made up of their registered varsity athletes.
The SEC and the Pac-12 are the first two of the Power 5 conferences to react to the NCAA decision, with decisions from the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 still at large. California and Washington – home to five Pac-12 swim teams – have been slower to ease up on restrictions regarding physical activity in groups than Utah and Arizona, home to three other Pac-12 teams.