Where Georgia athletics stand entering Week Two of coronavirus outbreak

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Georgia sports are on hold, UGA athletics director Greg McGarity telling Dawgnation on Sunday night that "our campus is literally shut down for two weeks."

The coronavirus pandemic has triggered an unprecedented turn in the world, shutdowns and restrictions a part of every day life.

Sports activities, schools and businesses have been subject to suspensions and cancellations, a surreal break from normalcy with no immediate end in sight.

At the time of this writing (March 15) there were 3,773 cases of the coronavirus in the United States and 69 deaths.

On Sunday, AJC.com reported 99 cases in Georgia, included two documented in Clarke County.

“Our campus is literally shut down for two weeks,” University of Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told DawgNation late Sunday night, asked about any pending press conferences on the Athens campus.

That’s just the beginning.

On Sunday night, the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention recommended all events with 50 people or more be called off for eight weeks.

It’s the latest in a whirlwind of restrictions that began last week, when professional and collegiate sports directives changed by the hour.

UGA’s vaunted athletic programs have been swept up in what basketball coach Tom Crean referred to as the “new normal” after their season-ending win at the SEC tournament last Wednesday night.

Here’s where things stand with Georgia athletics entering Week Two of the coronavirus outbreak fallout:

UGA self-quarantines

McGarity confirmed to DawgNation that all coaches and student-athletes are complying to the school’s “continuity” instructions sent out Friday.

The operative phrase, as it concerns self-quarantine:

“Any students, faculty or staff who have returned from international travel in the past 14 days must self-quarantine until they have been without symptoms for a period of 14 days from the date of entering/reentering the United States before returning to the University of Georgia.”

As some have reported, that would include Coach Kirby Smart based on Instagram posts suggesting family travel outside of the country.

It’s somewhat moot, considering practices and on-campus activities have been suspended until mid-April at the very earliest.

April 15 re-assessment

The Southeastern Conference announced on Friday that all “athletic activities including competitions and team and individual practices, meetings and other organized gatherings have been suspended through at least April 15.”

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey had announced last week in Nashville a March 30 re-assessment date. The date was extended last Friday after the NCAA moved forward to cancel all spring season championships.

Per the SEC statement, “member institutions will continue to provide their student-athletes with care and support to meet needs in areas including academics, medical care, mental health and wellness, nutrition and housing as needed.”

Spring sports eligibility extended

The NCAA’s surprise announcement last week canceling spring sports championships — league commissioners were not consulted — was followed by a pledge for extended eligibility for spring sports seniors.

According to an NCAA statement on Friday,

Today, the Division III Administrative Committee provided flexibility for schools to assist students with travel, lodging and meals as a result of campus displacements. The committee waived all requirements for sports sponsorship for the spring season. It also granted an additional season/semester of eligibility for student-athletes participating in spring sports. 

The Georgia baseball team, ranked No. 3 in the nation, features four seniors. The softball team, ranked No. 14, has seven seniors.

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