Decision expected by late July on football


By Keith Taylor, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — The athletic directors in the Southeastern Conference gathered in a huddle — social distancing style — to discuss the upcoming season on Monday in Birmingham.

Although no formal announcements have been made regarding fall sports, the gathering proved to be successful. It was the first in-person gathering of the league’s top athletic officials since the SEC Tournament last March in Nashville.

“We had a productive meeting (Monday) and engaged in discussions on a number of important issues that will contribute to the critical decisions to be made in the weeks ahead,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “The ability to personally interact over the course of the entire day contributed to the productivity of the meeting.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic dominated the discussions and Sankey said, “it is clear that current circumstances related to COVD-19 must improve” moving forward. The league also discussed potential scheduling options for the fall sports campaign.

“We will continue to closely monitor developments around the virus on a daily basis. In the coming weeks, we will continue to meet regularly with campus leaders via videoconferences and gather relevant information while guided by medical advisors,” Sankey said. “We believe that late July will provide the best clarity for making the important decisions ahead of us.”

Prior to Monday’s meeting, Sankey’s concern was “high to very high” on the upcoming football season. Much like the SEC, the Atlantic Coast Conference is waiting until the end of the month to make a final determination on fall sports, especially football.

“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and administrators remains the ACC’s top priority,” ACC Commissioner John Swofford said last week. “As we continue to work on the best possible path forward for the return of competition, we will do so in a way that appropriately coincides with our universities’ academic missions. 

“Over the last few months, our conference has prepared numerous scenarios related to the fall athletics season. The league membership and our medical advisory group will make every effort to be as prepared as possible during these unprecedented times, and we anticipate a decision by our Board of Directors in late July.”

The Big Ten and the Pac-12 conferences opted to forgo non-conference games this season and instead will play a conference-only schedule.