The Southeastern Conference has not given up on spring sports competition, but any resumption is at least a month away.
Conference athletics directors met by teleconference Friday morning, and in the afternoon the league announced that all competition will be suspended at least through April 15.
An SEC news release announcing the extension cited continuing developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
On Thursday, a day that news seemed to be updating rapidly, the SEC announced that a suspension of all sports would last until March 30, pending a reevaluation of the virus’ impact at that time.
Shutting it down
Friday’s announcement offered more detail by saying that all practices, individual and team workouts, would begin a suspension period by the end of the day on Friday.
Team meetings in all spots are to conclude by 5 p.m. local time on Monday.
Schools will continue to provide services in the areas of academics, medical care, mental health and wellness, nutrition and housing as needed, the release said.
The NCAA announced on Thursday that basketball’s March Madness and all winter and spring championship events – including the College World Series in Omaha – were canceled.
Both Ole Miss and Mississippi State were to begin SEC baseball play at home on Friday with series against LSU and Arkansas, respectively.
According to the current schedule, if competition resumes on April 15 there would be five SEC baseball weekends remaining, but with no NCAA playoffs as a reward.
The SEC basketball tournament was canceled on Thursday, after just one day of competition – including an Ole Miss loss. The league baseball tournament is scheduled for May 19-24 in Hoover, Ala.
The league has not addressed what the schedule might look like if competition resumes on April 15.
Fans who have purchased tickets for games scheduled from March 13-April 15 can contact their respective ticket offices for information on how refunds or exchanges might be handled.
The NCAA announced on Friday that its Division I Council Coordination Committee agreed that eligibility relief is appropriate for the spring sports affected by cancellations.
“Details of the eligibility relief will be finalized at a later time,” the NCAA said in a statement. “Additional issues with NCAA rules must be addressed, and appropriate governance bodies will work through those in the coming days and weeks.”
The council also placed an immediate ban on in-person recruiting for Division I coaches. All official and unofficial visits to campus from recruits have also been halted. The dead period will continue through at least April 15.
During this dead period, coaches and recruits are allowed contact by telephone or written correspondence.