Georgia Statements Following SEC Presidents’ Action

May 22, 2020

FILE-Sanford Stadium
Credit UGA

UGA President Jere W. Morehead

“Thanks to the tremendous leadership of our Commissioner, Greg Sankey, the 14 SEC Presidents were able reach a unanimous decision and select June 8 as the appropriate date to begin allowing football players access to athletic facilities under very controlled and monitored conditions. The great work of the SEC Medical Guidance Task Force, which included Ron Courson, provided the Presidents with thoughtful analysis which helped inform our decision.”

Greg McGarity, UGA J. Reid Parker Director of Athletics

“I’m sure everyone is pleased to now have direction from both the NCAA and the SEC on some parameters for bringing student-athletes back to campus in cooperation with the University System of Georgia.  It’s only the first step and there are many details still to be determined on every campus.  We’ll certainly be driven by the medical community and our sports medicine staff led by Ron Courson.  Guidelines and enhanced health and safety measures will be followed to the letter.  Again, this is only the first step with further details and plans coming over the next several days and weeks.”

Kirby Smart, UGA Head Football Coach

“We’re excited to now know when players can begin returning to campus.  We’ll be coordinating our efforts with the medical staff keeping the primary focus on health and safety of our student-athletes and those working directly with them during this time.  We’ll be working in the coming days on finalizing plans to implement the return of our players. I’m sure they are looking forward to returning and begin working toward what we hope is a regular season in the Fall.”  

Ron Courson, UGA Sr. Associate Athletic Director/Sports Medicine

Below is the UGA voluntary work-out and transition plan summary from Ron Courson:

§  The approval of “voluntary work-outs” is the first step back in an orderly progression for the return of sports. 

§  First and foremost, our focus is on health and safety.  We are taking a collaborative approach that involves public health, community health care system, sports medicine, sports performance, sports nutrition, and sport coaches working together to develop a plan and ensure each student-athlete has a individualized plan for return.

§  We will conduct COVID testing and perform medical evaluations on all student-athletes and they must be medically cleared prior to any physical activity.  We will identify any student-athletes and staff who may be more vulnerable due to existing health conditions and ensure that we have an individualized plan of care for their safe return to sport or work based upon medical guidance.

§  Our student-athletes have had an unprecedented lay-off from sports and we have to be smart about how we progress back to activity during this “transition period”.  Our  strength and conditioning return to sport plan will be based off national consensus guidelines developed by a joint task force with representatives from the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association.  It involves starting with a reduced volume of work  and modified work-rest ratios with a gradual increase, allowing the student-athletes to acclimate to both the environment with heat and humidity as well as building up exercise tolerance.

§  We have developed a detailed plan to utilize the strength and conditioning facilities that follows the State of Georgia Executive order for re-opening of exercise facilities, including screening procedures, small groups using social distancing, and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols.