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Mitch Barnhart says UK is weighing options and dates for student-athletes’ return to campus

While the SEC approved a June 8 return date for schools to allow student-athletes back on campus for voluntary in-person activities, UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart says the school will continue to weigh its options and potential dates for a return to campus.

In a statement released Friday afternoon, Barnhart said the school plans to work with state and local officials to come up with a specific return date.

“With the NCAA and SEC approving a return to activity, we will now work with our partners at the state and local government and university levels to determine the date that our student-athletes will come back,” Barnhart said on Twitter. “We will not compromise the safety and well-being of our student-athletes in this process, taking all possible precautions.

“Once we take this important step in returning to activity, we will shift our focus to preparing to return to play and bringing the entire UK family – student-athletes, coaches and fans alike – back together this fall in a responsible and safe way.”

The NCAA announced this past week that schools could allow student-athletes back on campus for voluntary activities starting on June 1, noting that individual conferences and schools would be free to decide a specific date on their own.

And then Friday, the SEC announced a June 8 return date for its schools.

“Voluntary in-person athletics activities may resume on Southeastern Conference campuses, at the discretion of each university, beginning June 8 under strict supervision of designated university personnel and safety guidelines developed by each institution,” the SEC announced Friday.

“Due to the impact of COVID-19, the SEC had suspended all athletics activities through May 31. June 8 will begin a transition period that will allow student-athletes to gradually adapt to full training and sports activity after this recent period of inactivity. Under plans developed by each university and consistent with state and local health directives, certain activities will be permitted based on the ability to participate in controlled and safe environments, while also maintaining recommended social distancing measures.”

Will Barnhart ultimately decide to allow basketball and football players to return on June 8? Or will he push for a later date?

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR