Texas A&M student-athletes resume voluntary activities
Texas A&M Athletics announced the resumption of voluntary activities for student-athletes on Tuesday, June 9, in accordance with new guidelines set by the Southeastern Conference and NCAA.
"It seems like a long time ago that we shut down, but now here we are where we can welcome back our student-athletes, get them in for voluntary workouts and put them in a safe environment," said Ross Bjork, Director of Athletics. "We always believed that they were safer here, that we could really protect them to the best of our ability. We have tested our student-athletes, they have all been prepped and ready to go. Seeing our student-athletes, seeing that glean in their eye, they are here to compete and this is a step in that process. We're very excited."
The SEC suspended all athletics activities through May 31 due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The league announced voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume on SEC campuses, at the discretion of each university, beginning June 8 under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution.
"It really is great to see the guys, you miss them and how much you care for them,” said Head Football Coach Jimbo Fisher. "You see them on zoom calls and calls, but (it is great) just getting back around them again and (it creates) normality for us as coaches too, we're getting back in the groove. We cannot be with them and our strength and conditioning coaches, it's all voluntary workouts, but I think they're eager to do it and are wanting to do it. It gets them back to some normality."
The SEC assembled a Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force which prepared a series of best practices for all areas related to the health and wellbeing of student-athletes on campuses during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to these measures and those recommended by state, university, and public health officials, Texas A&M Athletics instituted a series of enhanced safety protocols that can be found at this link.
"Obviously this has been a difficult semester, if you go all the way back to the last time we saw our players on the 6th of March when they took off to go on Spring Break and Spring Break hasn't really finished in a lot of ways," said Head Soccer Coach G Guerrieri. "We have been able to meet through virtual meetings and other interactions that were not real face-to-face meetings, but now we are able to get back in training, back in our facilities over at the Player Development Center, all of those things start to getting ourselves back to where we need to be. Now that we already have a third of the team back on campus, it is great to see them in person."
NCAA regulations will permit only strength and conditioning personnel to supervise voluntary on-campus athletics activities in football and men's and women's basketball through the month of June.
“Ross [Bjork] gave us the resources to be a leader in this game, to be a leader in the return to activity, to be a leader in to return to campus, to be a leader in the medical care of our student athletes,” Director of Sports Medicine JP Bramhall said. “As usual, Texas A&M did it the right way and we are a school that others are looking at to see how this goes. With our team, each of us in our area of expertise -- in medicine, in athletic training and sports science, strength and conditioning, administration -- each area we researched, we made decisions and we met frequently to determine the best course for the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff.”