SEC: Athletes Choosing to Sit Out Due to COVID Can Retain Scholarships

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    (Photo via Jim Burgess)

    The SEC announced on Friday afternoon that any student-athlete who chooses not to participate in any intercollegiate athletics during the fall 2020 academic semester due to health or safety concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university. Those athletes will also remain in good standing with their respective team.

    The announced action is a 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,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said via a statement. “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.”

    Neither the SEC nor Sankey have stated whether or not any student-athletes who choose to sit out the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns would retain that year of eligibility and be able to use it as a redshirt year.

    The SEC added that they will “continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19” in order to determine whether or not the policy should be extended to the spring semester of 2021 or beyond. Right now, fall sports are the only ones affected by the current policy.

    Tennessee has not had any athletes announce their intentions to sit out the 2020 season due to the current pandemic at this time.

    As of right now, no final decision has been made about the start of the college football season. Tennessee’s football team is set to begin fall camp in a couple weeks, and the Vols’ 2020 season kicks off on September 5th with a home match-up against Charlotte in Neyland Stadium.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.