After a day-long meeting in Birmingham, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey said the consensus among the league’s 14 athletic directors and himself was to wait before making a final decision on the 2020 football season.
That includes any decision about cancellation of all games or a decision to change the 2020 schedule to a conference-only format.
“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,” Sankey said in a release from the Southeastern Conference office. “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.”
Sankey also indicated that the league felt no pressure due to decisions to play league-only games, a call made by the Big Ten and Pac-12 last week.
“We are not at that destination and a number of our colleague conferences are not at that destination, so the Big Ten made its decision,” Sankey said on a Monday afternoon appearance on Finebaum. “We have no common games with the Big Ten Conference this year, just one of the realities in our schedule. The impact of their decision is indirect.
“We did have 2 games to be played with the Pac-12 – the USC-Alabama to be scheduled in Dallas and Colorado and Texas A&M, so we’ve had minimal direct impact on our schedule. We had a call Thursday night with Larry Scott after the Big Ten conversation. Larry gave us a more complete update on some of their circumstances and understanding their realities within the state of California.
“I don’t know if it is every conference for ourselves, but obviously people made decisions,” Sankey said. “I observed that what happened in March was a really good indicator of what may happen when we look toward the fall, which was groups of universities – conferences – made independent decisions. Now, we all ended up at the same destination.”
The meeting marked the first in-person meeting of the league’s athletics directors since the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville in March, the SEC release noted. The athletics directors have met multiple times per week via videoconference since the discontinuation of athletic competition in March due to the pandemic.
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