SEC Announces New Start Dates, Schedules For Five Fall Sports
The SEC released a statement on Thursday afternoon announcing the updated start dates for five fall sports: golf, tennis, cross country, soccer and volleyball.
Take a look at how the new guidelines compare to Alabama's schedules from last year in each sport:
Alabama soccer already had the first few games of its season canceled because they were scheduled to be played before Aug. 31.
Now the regular season has been reduced from 18 matches – eight non-conference followed by 10 SEC – to an eight-match, conference-only schedule that is slated to begin on Sept. 18. Soccer teams usually play two matches per week, but this season they are scheduled to play only once each week.
The SEC Tournament is scheduled to be played from Nov. 13-22, nearly two weeks later than it was played in 2019.
The cross country season for SEC teams is now scheduled to run from Sept. 11 to Oct. 23. Alabama's first meet last year was on Aug. 31 and the SEC Championships were held on Nov. 1. This year's SEC Championships are scheduled for Oct. 30.
The team ran in five meets prior to the conference championships, but in 2020 they will only be allowed to compete in three.
They can compete against any opponents, but those opponents must meet the SEC's COVID-19 testing requirements in the week leading up to competition.
Last season Alabama volleyball played three tournaments and two additional non-conference games before beginning its 18-match SEC schedule on Sept. 24.
Under the new schedule, the season isn't scheduled to begin until Oct. 16 and will take place over six consecutive weekends.
Each team is scheduled to play four weekend doubleheaders in that six-week span, creating an eight-match, conference-only schedule. Thus, each team is scheduled to play only four different opponents in the fall regular season.
The statement did not mention the SEC Volleyball Tournament, but it did acknowledge that soccer and volleyball teams are scheduled to compete in the spring as well. Details on spring competition are yet to be announced by the NCAA.
NCAA president Mark Emmert announced on Aug. 13 that there would be no NCAA championships in the fall.
GOLF AND TENNIS
Golf and tennis are both subject to the same scheduling guidelines in the fall of 2020: beginning on Oct. 1, teams may compete in up to three team events. However, they can only compete against other SEC schools or non-conference opponents in the same geographic region.
Alabama men's and women's golf each competed in four official team events last fall, none of which would have satisfied the SEC's new criteria.
Alabama men's and women's tennis both sent players to various tournaments in the fall but did not compete as a full team. It is unclear how the SEC criteria affect these fall individual events.