Southeastern Conference Faces Monumental Decision on Fall Sports
With just under two months to go until college football is supposed to kick off, conference commissioners face difficult choices over how to handle the upcoming fall season during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier in the week the Ivy League announced there would be no fall sports and the following day the Big 10 announced it would only play conference games, if any at all. The Pac-12 and ACC are reportedly expected to follow suit and opt out of all non-conference action for the fall of 2020.
Greg Sankey, the SEC commissioner and the 14 coaches in the SEC were reportedly caught off guard by the Big 10's announcements and will opt to wait as long as possible to make a decision on the upcoming season.
Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News released a statement from Sankey after the Big 10 made its announcement.
Essentially, Sankey announced that the conference has not come to a decision. However it's looking more and more inevitable that the decisions may be made for him, if the SEC wants to play football this season its looking more and more likely that a conference only schedule is the only route possible to have a season.
With the Big 10, Pac-12 and ACC announcements the SEC saw its members lose seven games, including four annual rivalry games with schools in the ACC. Should the Big 12 make a similar announcement soon it would scratch at least four more games off the SEC's schedule.
The SEC athletic directors are reportedly meeting in person on Monday to discuss what the next step is for the conference going forward. Will they decide to discontinue non-conference games as well? If that's the case will they opt to increase the conference schedule from the previously scheduled eight games?
Alabama's Nick Saban has been a proponent for some time now that he would like the conference to consider a nine-game conference schedule, will the accomplished coach finally get his way?
The SEC was the last conference to cancel its conference basketball tournament in the spring, that decision appears to be just a warm up in light of what the conference needs to decide for the fall season.
With two months before the season openers and summer practices beginning throughout the conference, the only thing that is certain now is that Sankey faces his most important decision as conference commissioner and time is running out.