BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (FOX Carolina) - The Southeastern Conference has released more details on what a typical football game will look like this fall as collegiate teams navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The main takeaway: no bands or spirit squads will take the field for performances.
In an announcement Friday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said the guidelines for its 14 member schools can be a bitter pill to swallow since they're part of tradition, but notes the focus is on keeping everyone in attendance healthy.
"The health of those around SEC athletics events remains in focus and, following advice of the SEC's Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force, we continue to develop policies intended to provide a healthy return to competition," said Sankey. "Some of these are difficult decisions but are a reality of our circumstances, and we will continue to develop and refine policies as we monitor issues related to COVID-19."
For the 2020 season, the SEC's guidelines say bands won't be performing on the field before games or during halftime. However, this is subject to revision based on developments regarding the virus. Additionally, stadiums with reduced capacity will not be allowed to host visiting team bands and spirit squads, but SEC institutions will have discretion on if their band or spirit squad can attend a conference game held at a neutral site.
Beyond band and spirit squads, on-field sponsor and donor recognition ceremonies and other athletic department recognitions will not be allowed as well.
The SEC also announced more guidelines for football games. Here's the breakdown:
In football, where stadium capacities are reduced if fan attendance is permitted, the host institution shall provide the visiting institution a minimum of 500 tickets located in the lower level of the stadium. The visiting institution may be provided more or less than these 500 tickets upon mutual agreement of both institutions.
Home institutions are required to disinfect home and visiting team spaces prior to each game utilizing approved disinfectants. These spaces shall include the locker rooms, coaches' rooms, training rooms, sidelines, coaches' booths and any additional areas provided to either team. The visiting team shall be allowed to further disinfect its spaces utilizing approved disinfectants after receiving approval from the home team's facility staff on the disinfectants it desires to use. Upon completion of disinfection, the spaces and equipment must be locked down until the teams are granted initial access on Thursday or Friday prior to game day. Once both teams have accessed their spaces, only team staff are allowed inside the spaces and no outside individuals, including television personnel, are allowed access.
Press box seating capacity shall be no more than 50% of current seating availability in the press box, and all individuals in the press box shall wear a face covering. If required by national, state and/or local guidelines, the press box seating capacity shall be less than 50% of the current seating available in accordance with the national, state and/or local guidelines. Post-game press conferences will be conducted virtually.