ATLANTA — The Southeastern Conference will only play conference football games this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, conference officials announced Thursday.
The SEC said it will play a 10-game schedule beginning on Sept. 26. The championship game will be held Dec. 19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
“This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said
The schedule will include one mid-season open date for each school and an open date on December 12 for all schools.
“We believe these schedule adjustments offer the best opportunity to complete a full season by giving us the ability to adapt to the fluid nature of the virus and the flexibility to adjust schedules as necessary if disruptions occur,” Sankey said.
SEC presidents met virtually Thursday to make the decision, which comes one day after the ACC’s decision. The ACC also moved to a 10-game conference schedule, but will play one non-conference game, as long as it is in their home state. That would have given the go-ahead for a Georgia-Georgia Tech matchup, but the SEC’s announcement Thursday does not allow for any non-conference games.
“It is regrettable that some of our traditional non-conference rivalries cannot take place in 2020 under this plan, but these are unique, and hopefully temporary, circumstances that call for unconventional measures,” Sankey said.
A revised schedule for each team will be announced at a later date.
UGA President Jere Morehead said it became clear in the meeting that the delay in the season would be beneficial to the student athletes and help with the orderly return to campus for the entire student boyd.
“Having some separation between the earlier reopening of our campuses and the later start of the football season should be helpful,” he said.
UGA Athletic Director Greg McGarity echoed those sentiments, saying this was the best decision to keep everyone safe.
“The 10-game SEC schedule provides us the best opportunity to play football as safely as possible in a Covid environment. It’s disappointing the schedule model does not make it possible to play Georgia Tech; however, we look forward to renewing that rivalry in 2021. I do want to commend Commissioner Sankey, his staff, and the University presidents and chancellors for their leadership in continuing to navigate these challenging issues,” he said.
No decision has been made yet about game attendance or season ticket holders.
“We look forward to communicating our plan for attendance at home games in Sanford Stadium at a later date. We are thankful for the patience our devoted season ticket holders have shown during this time. We are committed to creating a safe and healthy environment for our fans that will respect and adhere to all Covid guidelines,” McGarity said.
We’re working to get more information on this developing story and will bring you updates live on Channel 2 Action News on right now.
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