Within a few minutes of each other, both Alabama football and all spring sports saw their future thrown into further jeopardy.
UA announced Friday afternoon — within a couple of hours of its first schedule spring practice — that its football team would be suspending practice, “until further notice.” Shortly thereafter, reports surfaced of the SEC extending its suspension of play from March 30 to April 15.
The SEC confirmed with an announcement Friday afternoon, stating all, “athletics activities, including competitions, team and individual practices, meetings and other organized gatherings, will be suspended through at least April 15, due to continuing developments related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).”
UA’s A-Day game was scheduled to take place on April 18, so if UA is to have any spring football practice it will take a significant change to its schedule. The original schedule included a Friday practice before taking a week off for spring break, resuming practice after that week. UA has extended its spring break for another week, through March 30.
“As everyone is very aware, we are dealing with a serious virus that has put everyone on alert,” Byrne said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff who have had their seasons interrupted/ended and out fans who have supported them every step of the way. Sports is such a uniting force and we look forward to coming together to celebrate the Crimson Tide as soon as possible.”
The new length to the suspension is also damaging to spring sports. The NCAA already canceled all winter and spring sport championships, but the SEC did not follow the suit of other conferences in canceling its own spring sport play. It previously did nothing more than its suspension of play through March 30, giving fans hope that spring sports may resume at some point later in the semester. That hope remains present, but with a smaller window of opportunity than before.