SEC requires face coverings for all fans, workers at football games

The SEC will require face coverings for all fans and workers attending football games this fall.

According to the health and safety guidelines put forth Tuesday by the conference, schools will be able to determine how many fans can attend games based on state and local guidelines.

Tailgating also will be left to the discretion of schools, as well as team walks like Auburn's "Tiger Walk," where players and coaches walk through a sea of tailgaters from the team facility to the entrance of Jordan-Hare Stadium before every game.

All ticketing will be digitally scanned and traditional water fountains will be prohibited, according to the new guidelines.

"These fan guidelines have been adopted by the 14 member schools of the Southeastern Conference as baseline recommendations for the campus management of fan health and safety," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. "Although local and state guidelines will determine if and how many fans can attend games, these guidelines provide conference-wide expectations for protection of guests who are able to attend our games."

While the Big Ten and Pac-12 have postponed all fall sports, the SEC, ACC and Big 12 plan to begin their respective football seasons in late September. In the SEC, preseason practice began Monday.

Following practice, Alabama coach Nick Saban stressed the importance of following proper safety protocols to ensure the health of players and the ability to have a football season.

"A lot of people have asked that we wear masks when we're in public, when we're in crowds, when we're in large groups of people, that we keep social-distanced," Saban said. "I don't think they're doing that just for the heck of it. I think there's a reason for it. We're trying to control the spread of this disease, and I think that our ability to do that's going to go a long way in saying whether we can play football or not.

"But bigger than that, it's just your own personal bubble for your own personal safety. Every one of these students, to take the proper care of themselves and respect the protocols that people are recommending for your safety, and I just think that's the smart thing to do."