SEC Extends Gameday Rules, Prohibiting Bands & Cheerleaders
As if Gameday couldn't look any more different this year, the Southeastern Conference has added new guidelines to operation standards for fall sports, including the removal of marching bands and cheerleaders from football games this year.
"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," SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a Friday evening release. "Some of these are difficult decisions but are a reality of our circumstances, and we will continue to develop and refine policies and we monitor issues related to COVID-19."
Under these extended guidelines, the SEC will not permit marching bands to perform during halftime at the stadiums of its 14 member schools. Bands are not to travel with the team to any games and cannot perform in the stands, as well. Spirit squads like the color guard, cheerleaders and majorettes are not permitted either. If there is an SEC vs. SEC neutral site game, it will be up to the schools to decide whether they allow bands or spirit squads to attend.
The only personnel who will be allowed onto the field during games are players, coaches, medical and support personnel, game officials, law enforcement, and "other limited personnel essential to the execution of the game."
Media access will be severely reduced, as the release stated that a "limited number of photographers and contracted radio/TV personnel" will be allowed on the field at any given game.
Press box capacities will be reduced by 50% and media members in the press box must wear a mask or facial covering at all times. All post-game press conferences will be held online.
When hosting a game, the home team must provide at least 500 lower bowl tickets to the visiting team. Those 500 tickets must be included in whatever capacity limits the home institution sets for its games.
These guidelines are an extension to the core policies the SEC adopted on Aug. 7. As coronavirus case numbers fluctuate, the rules that are currently instated are subject to change.
The Alabama Crimson Tide is set to play Sept. 26 at home against the Missouri Tigers. The University of Alabama issued its own guidelines for Gameday in Bryant-Denny Stadium on Aug. 18, which included reducing stadium capacity to 20% and prohibiting tailgating.
Stay tuned to this site for more information as it is made available.