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Mizzou announces return dates, testing for all sports

Eric Blum
The Examiner
The Examiner

Missouri athletics has announced return dates to campus for all of its student-athletes for voluntary workouts.

Alongside the returns of football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball on Monday, the three remaining sports with fall championships (volleyball, women’s soccer and cross country) will start voluntary workouts June 15.

The non-basketball winter sports of gymnastics, wrestling as well as swimming and diving will be allowed to resume voluntary workouts June 22.

The five remaining varsity sports, all with spring championships, will return July 6, nearly a month after the first student-athletes return to Columbia. Those spring sports are baseball, softball, men’s and women’s golf, women’s tennis and men’s and women’s track and field.

The Southeastern Conference announced that all student-athletes were allowed to return to campuses starting Monday, but Missouri has implemented its return in waves for precautionary reasons amid the coronavirus pandemic.

No use of shared equipment will be allowed at these voluntary workouts, such as throwing a football or dribbling a basketball.

The NCAA originally announced student-athletes could return to campuses for voluntary workouts June 1, with different repopulation plans taking place throughout the country.

Missouri’s policy on testing student-athletes for coronavirus changed this week, as a university spokesperson confirmed that all athletes will be tested upon their return to campus, instead of only those with any symptoms of sickness, which was the school’s original plan.

The directive from the SEC Task Force doesn’t require any league school to test all student-athletes, but it does recommend contact tracing and quarantining in the event of confirmed cases.

"The health, safety and well-being of Mizzou's student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans is paramount and will be at the forefront in our decision-making process regarding the challenges we face with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Missouri athletic director Jim Sterk said in a statement last month. “For well over a month, our internal Mizzou Sports Park repopulation committee has worked with MU Health Care, university, city and county officials to design a comprehensive plan for safely bringing student-athletes back to campus next month in anticipation of resuming workouts.”

Sterk continued: "The guidance we have received from MU Health Care, as well as city and county officials, and the SEC's Medical Task Force, has provided a roadmap that allows us to safely open our facilities for supervised voluntary activities while continuing to provide academic support, medical and mental health care, and meals to our student-athletes that they would not have access to if they were at home."