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SEC to honor scholarships for athletes who opt out

SEC to honor scholarships for athletes who opt out


Yurachek aupports decision, provides update on conference meetings University of Arkansas Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek addressed the media over the weekend regarding a meeting of Southeastern Conference Athletics Directors held last week in Birmingham, Alabama.

“Today’s meeting was another productive step as we work collaboratively to face the many challenges related to this pandemic,” said Yurachek. “The purposeful way in which the SEC has approached these complex issues has enabled us to review the most updated data as we focus on the health, safety and well-being of our studentathletes, coaches, staff members and fans.”

There are several ongoing concerns in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic that colleges in the SEC and across the nation are discussing as the Fall 2020 semester draws closer, including academics, athletics and financial issues that are being impacted by the coronavirus.

“As a self-sustaining athletics program at the University of Arkansas, we have an obligation to explore ways to mitigate the financial impact of those decisions, including our ability to continue to fully support the academic, athletic and personal development of our 465 studentathletes,” Yurachek said.

“Now more than ever, I am appreciative of the leadership of Commissioner Greg Sankey and UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz.”

While there were many issues on the table, one matter Yurachek was quick to announce and show support for was the decision made by the Southeastern Conference that its membership institutions will honor scholarships to student- athletes who elect to not participate in intercollegiate athletics during the fall 2020 academic semester because of health and/or safety concerns related to COVID-19.

“The announcement today by the Southeastern Conference that scholarships will be honored for student-athletes, regardless of whether they compete in the fall semester, aligns with the University of Arkansas’ commitment to the 465+ student-athletes within our program,” said Yurachek.

Athletes at the college and professional level across virtually all sports have expressed concerns about playing during the pandemic, due to personal health concerns or the concerns of family members.

“In these extraordinary times, we remain focused on our mission of developing champions and Razorbacks for life,” Yurachek said. “I anticipate that a majority of our student- athletes will choose to compete this year, if given the opportunity to do so.

However, it is important for our student-athletes to know if they choose not to participate due to personal concerns related to the pandemic, they will continue to be supported.”

Perhaps the most critical of these concerns is the upcoming 2020 football season. Most college programs depend heavily on revenue from college football to support not only other athletic programs on their respective campuses but the college’s other programs.

Colleges are looking at options that range from playing in limited-capacity stadiums, playing in empty stadiums, playing limited or conference-only schedules or the cancellation of their seasons altogether.

Photo courtesy of the University of Arkansas

Photo courtesy of the University of Arkansas

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