What you need to know about SEC rules for COVID-19 testing, masks and quarantine

SEC football players will be required to undergo COVID-19 testing at least twice per week, and coaches will be required to wear masks while on the sideline, under protocols the conference announced Friday.

Here are the key details from the SEC’s plan:


  • The SEC will coordinate centralized testing through a third-party provider
  • Football players and others in direct contact with the program will receive a Polymerase chain reaction test at least twice weekly during competition, typically six days and three days before a game.
  • Volleyball and soccer players and others in direct contact with those programs program will a PCR test at least twice weekly during competition, with one to occur three days before the first competition of the week.
  • The task force recommends exploring alternative testing methods that will accommodate a third test for football, volleyball and soccer, in addition to the two required PCR tests. A third test would provide a rapid response in a timeframe closer to competition.
  • Cross country athletes and others in direct contact with the program will receive a PCR test at least once per week during competition, occurring three days prior to each competition.


  • In football, volleyball and soccer, all coaches and staff will be required to wear face coverings on the sideline and physical distancing will be employed.
  • Cross country athletes are required to wear a face covering at the starting line, which may be removed when proper distancing has been achieved.

Confirmed infection

  • An athlete with a confirmed infection must isolate for at least 10 days from the date of the positive test.


  • Those with prolonged close contact (greater than 15 minutes within 6 feet) during the period of infectivity (two days prior before symptom onset until the time of isolation), will be considered a high-risk contact and must quarantine for 14 days.
  • If no symptoms develop while an athlete is quarantined, the athlete may return to competition after the 14-day period. Testing does not shorten or remove the 14-day quarantine period.


  • Each school shall designate a COVID-19 oversight officer who shall be responsible for education and ensuring compliance with the SEC’s COVID-19 management plan.

Blake Toppmeyer covers University of Tennessee football. Email him at blake.toppmeyer@knoxnews.com and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Current subscribers can click here to join Blake’s subscriber-only text group offering updates and analysis on Vols football.



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