Photo courtesy of SECsports.com/SEC Staff
All 14 SEC athletic directors met in Birmingham Monday amid growing concerns regarding the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the 2020 college football season.
The Big Ten and the Pac-12 recently announced their decisions to eliminate non-conference games, which has the potential to create a domino effect across the college football landscape. As for the SEC, Commissioner Greg Sankey expressed a high level of apprehension over the weekend with kickoff fast approaching.
Following the comments made by the commissioner, the conference’s ADs met at the SEC Office in Birmingham to discuss a path forward, but the meeting ended without a resolution.
“We had a productive meeting on Monday and engaged in discussions on a number of important issues that will contribute to critical decisions to be made in the weeks ahead,” Sankey said. “The ability to personally interact over the course of an entire day contributed to the productivity of the meeting.”
During the meeting, the attendees heard from the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force as they weigh their options with COVID-19 cases rising in the region and across the country. While kickoff is currently less than two months away, Sankey explained that the conference will likely hold off on making any major decisions until later this month.
“It is clear that current circumstances related to COVID-19 must improve and we will continue to closely monitor developments around the virus on a daily basis,” he said. “In the coming weeks, we will continue to meet regularly with campus leaders via videoconferences and gather relevant information while guided by medical advisors. We believe that late July will provide the best clarity for making the important decisions ahead of us.”
If the SEC were to adopt a conference-only style schedule for 2020, Ole Miss would lose its neutral-site opener against Baylor and home games against SEMO, UConn & Georgia Southern. Mississippi State is currently slated to travel to N.C. State and host New Mexico, Tulane & Alabama A&M.
While ADs have met via videoconference in recent months, Monday represented the first in-person meeting that the conference has held since the cancelation of the SEC Basketball Tournament back in March.
Monday, the NJCAA announced that the JUCO football season will be moved to the spring. In Mississippi, the High School Activities Association is currently meeting to discuss its plan for the upcoming season.