BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The members of the Southeastern Conference’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force, a group of volunteer medical professionals appointed by each of the SEC’s member universities who helped provide continuing guidance as the SEC conducted intercollegiate athletics competition during the 2020-21 academic year, have been named recipient of the Michael L. Slive Distinguished Service Award, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey announced Wednesday. Among them is Ole Miss Sports & Health Performance Medical Director and Sports Medicine Physician, Dr. Marshall Crowther.
“Individually and collectively, the leaders serving on the Conference’s Medical Guidance Task Force are deserving of this recognition,” said Sankey. “Each contributed an incredible amount of time and effort to lend their expertise as we worked to meet the many challenges associated with developing policies and protocols supporting the healthy return to competition throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of their efforts, thousands of SEC student-athletes have been able to participate in their chosen sports, compete for championships and create lifelong memories with their teammates that otherwise may have never been possible without the contributions of these talented individuals.”
As the SEC Office began to monitor and learn about COVID-19 and associated public health information following the cancellation of the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament in March of 2020, the Task Force was formed in early April 2020 for the purpose of providing the guidance necessary to make decisions related to the return to athletics activities for SEC student-athletes and to assist in the SEC’s collaboration with colleague conferences in supporting the safe and healthy conduct of athletics competition.
Members of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force are:
• Dr. Jimmy Robinson, University of Alabama, Head Team Physician and Medical Director
• Dr. Kent Hagan, University of Arkansas, Orthopedic Surgeon/Team Physician and Dr. Ramon Ylanan, Sports Medicine/Team Physician
• Dr. Mike Goodlett, Auburn University, Chief Medical Officer/Team Physician
• Dr. Jay Clugston, University of Florida, Team Physician
Ron Courson, University of Georgia, Senior Associate. Athletics Director/Sports Medicine
Jim Madaleno, University of Kentucky, Executive Associate Athletics Director/Sports Medicine and Performance
• Dr. Catherine O’Neal, LSU Health Sciences Center Assistant Professor of Medicine, Infectious Diseases
• Dr. Marshall Crowther, University of Mississippi, Medical Director/Sports Medicine Physician
• Dr. Cliff Story, Mississippi State University, Director of University Health Services
• Dr. Stevan Whitt, University of Missouri, Associate Professor of Medicine, Divisions of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and Infectious Diseases; Senior Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs, University of Missouri School of Medicine, Chief Clinical Officer
• Dr. Zoë Foster, University of South Carolina, Program Director, Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship
• Dr. Chris Klenck, University of Tennessee, Head Team Physician
• Dr. Shawn Gibbs, Texas A&M University, Dean of School of Public Health
• Dr. Warne Fitch, Vanderbilt University, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Associate Professor of Orthopedics
The Michael L. Slive Distinguished Service Award is presented on special occasions to former student-athletes, coaches, graduates or administrators of SEC institutions or the conference office who have maintained a lifetime of interest in college athletics and who, over a significant period of time, have exhibited superior leadership qualities and made a significant impact to the betterment of the mission of the Southeastern Conference.
“These health professionals collectively and uniquely embody the spirit of this special award,” said Sankey. “The expertise, experience and knowledge they provide continues to support our institutions in their focus on the health and well-being of SEC student-athletes during a year of uncertainty. We are proud to honor them with the Michael L. Slive Distinguished Service Award.”
The Task Force began meeting by video conference in April of 2020 to review and discuss information associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The Task Force identified protocols related to on-campus meetings and workouts, out-of-season activities and skill instruction, and other practice activities for student-athletes and coaches, and opportunities for a healthy return to competition, including considerations for student-athletes, administrators, support staff, officials and fans.
The Michael L. Slive Distinguished Service Award is named for Mike Slive, commissioner of the SEC from 2002-14. Slive was named the first winner of the award upon his retirement in 2014 and the award was subsequently named in his honor.
Michael L. Slive Distinguished Service Award Winners
2014 – Michael L. Slive – SEC Commissioner
2017 – SEC Pioneers of Integration (Nate Northington, Wilbur Hackett, Houston Hogg, Greg Page – Kentucky Football; Perry Wallace and Godfrey Dillard – Vanderbilt Basketball)
2018 – Archie Manning – Ole Miss Football/Baseball
2021 – SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force