After Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork hinted to it in an appearance on Studio 12 on Wednesday, the SEC has decided to make changes to the 2020 football season, first reported by Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger.
According to Dellenger’s tweet, the SEC is moving to a 10-game conference-only schedule for 2020. The start of the football season is also delayed until Sept. 26, and the SEC Championship game is scheduled for Dec. 19, two weeks later than its original date.
BREAKING: #SEC presidents have adopted a plan to play a 10-game, conference-only schedule this fall, sources told @SINow.League approved kickoff date is Sept. 26. Particulars on the schedule (the two additional games & locations) are unclear for now.SEC title game Dec. 19.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 30, 2020
“This is the right decision for the SEC, our athletics program, and most importantly, the well-being of our student-athletes,” Bjork said in a statement released by the athletic department. “Given the evolving nature of the current health challenge and the potential variables our University faces when thousands of students return to College Station, we believe a late September start for college football gives our students, student-athletes, staff, coaches, and university community the safest environment possible.”
The 2020 schedule includes one mid-season bye week for each school and an open date on Dec. 12 for all schools, according to a release from the SEC.
“This new plan for a football schedule is consistent with the educational goals of our universities to allow for the safe and orderly return to campus of their student populations and to provide a healthy learning environment during these unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 virus,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in the release. “This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities.”
The Big Ten previously announced its own conference-only schedule on July 9.
Though Thursday’s decision does not mention the other fall sports, the SEC’s release says, “Start dates and schedules for those sports, as well as sports in their non-traditional seasons during the fall, will be announced at a later date.”
According to the SEC’s release, an updated schedule for the 2020 football season will be released at a later date.