Southeastern Conference athletes who choose not to play fall sports because of health and safety concerns surrounding COVID-19 will have their scholarships honored, the league announced Friday.
SEC presidents and chancellors unanimously approved the decision, which had been recommended by the league's athletic directors. The Big Ten and Pac-12 both previously announced that all scholarships will be honored for athletes who choose not to participate this fall.
"SEC universities are committed to full support of its student-athletes, whether or not a student-athlete decides to participate in sports during these uncertain times," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. "SEC student-athletes have frequently expressed their desire to compete, but it is important for student-athletes and their families to know the financial support committed to them by their institutions will not be at risk because of health concerns presented by the current pandemic."
Friday's announcement impacts athletes in football, volleyball, soccer and men's and women's cross country. Earlier this week, the SEC postponed the start of the volleyball, soccer and cross country seasons to Aug. 31.
The league said it will continue to monitor developments around COVID-19 to see if the scholarship policy will be extended to spring semester 2021.