The clock keeps ticking on when the SEC will decide if and how it will play its 2020 fall sports season

PHOTO BY Jonathan Mailhes

The athletic directors of the 14 Southeastern Conference schools are scheduled to meet Monday at the league offices in Birmingham to continue discussions on the fate of the 2020 fall sports season, mostly notably football.

No decisions have yet to be made if and how the schedule will be altered if the league decides to play games as the coronavirus pandemic rages into its fifth month in August.

The Big Ten and the Pac 12 have already announced they will both play a “conference games only” football schedule. Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for coronavirus.

The ACC and Big 12 both said they won’t make a decision on fall sports until late July. That’s the time frame that the SEC is also trending toward.

On ESPN Radio’s Marty and Magee Show on Saturday morning, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was blunt about his waning optimism.

“We put a medical advisory group together in early April with the question, ‘What do we have to do to get back to activity?’ and they’ve been a big part of the conversation,” Sankey said. “But the direct reality is not good and the notion that we’ve politicized medical guidance of distancing, and breathing masks, and hand sanitization, ventilation of being outside, being careful where you are in buildings. There’s some very clear advice about — you can’t mitigate and eliminate every risk, but how do you minimize the risk?

“We are running out of time to correct and get things right, and as a society we owe it to each other to be as healthy as we can be.”

With the Big Ten and Pac 12 already cancelling non-conference games, only Alabama and Texas A&M have had games against respective Pac 12 members Southern Cal and Colorado removed from schedules.

But if the ACC and Big 12 follow suit with a “conference games only” schedule, then 10 other SEC schools would be affected by canceled games including Texas of the Big 12 playing at LSU on Sept. 12.

Georgia has the potential to have its regular season-opening and closing games cancelled against respective ACC foes Virginia (Sept. 7 in Atlanta) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 28 in Athens).

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Ron Higgins

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