Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Statement Today From SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey

I look forward to learning more about the factors that led the Big Ten and Pac-12 leadership to take these actions today. I remain comfortable with the thorough and deliberate approach that the SEC and our 14 members are taking to support a healthy environment for our student-athletes. We will continue to further refine our policies and protocols for a safe return to sports as we monitor developments around COVID-19 in a continued effort to support, educate and care for our student-athletes every day.

Friday, August 7, 2020

SEC Schedule Information Released

Dawgs will travel to Arkansas to face Sam Pittman and the Hogs, Mississippi State will come to Athens to round out the 10 game SEC schedule just released by the conference.

The other two teams in the west will be Alabama and Auburn.

The east games will be as normal with Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Kentucky and Missouri.

Game dates will be announced later.

SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE ANNOUNCES INITIAL MEDICAL PROTOCOLS

The Southeastern Conference has announced its initial COVID-19 management requirements for the fall athletics season as recommended by the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force.

The Task Force has been meeting frequently since April to review and discuss information associated with the COVID-19 pandemic with a focus on developing policies and protocols to guide membership decisions related to the healthy return of athletics activities, including team gatherings, practices, conditioning and competition, for SEC student-athletes and others associated with SEC athletics programs.

“Our Medical Task Force is producing an effective strategy for testing and monitoring, which complements the vigilant day-to-day efforts of our campuses to establish and maintain healthy environments in which our student-athletes can train and compete,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “Our health experts have guided us though each stage of preparation for the safe return of activity and, together with the medical staffs embedded within our athletics programs, we will continue to monitor developments around the virus and evolve our plan to meet the health needs of our student-athletes.”

The Task Force’s initial requirements for fall SEC sports include testing requirements, procedures for infections and contact tracing, and protocols for quarantine and isolation. Similar requirements will be developed for other SEC sports before their competition seasons begin.

Due to the constantly changing realities around the pandemic, the requirements and testing strategies developed by the Task Force will continue to be reviewed and updated as new information becomes available. The requirements are being developed as minimum standards for SEC programs to enact and serve to build on recommendations of the Autonomy 5 Medical Advisory Group and the NCAA’s Resocialization of College Sports Guidelines. The SEC anticipates an additional pre-season report from the SEC’s Task Force by August 31.

TESTING

The SEC will coordinate centralized testing through a third-party provider to ensure consistency in surveillance and pre-competition testing. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the current standard testing method for the COVID-19 virus. Alternative testing methods may be considered if sufficient data develops to support those methods.

In the sport of football, student-athletes and others in direct contact with the program will receive a PCR surveillance test at least twice weekly during competition, typically six days and three days prior to competition. The Task Force recommends exploring alternative testing methods that will accommodate a third test, in addition to the two required PCR tests, that will provide for the reliability and rapid response necessary for diagnostic testing in a timeframe closer to competition.

In the sports of volleyball and soccer, student-athletes and others in direct contact with the program will receive a PCR surveillance test at least twice weekly during competition, with one to occur three days prior to the first competition of the week. The Task Force recommends exploring alternative testing methods that will accommodate a third test, in addition to the two required PCR tests, that will provide for the reliability and rapid response necessary for diagnostic testing in a timeframe closer to the first competition of the week.

In the sport of cross country, student-athletes and others in direct contact with the program will receive a PCR surveillance test at least once per week during competition, with that test to occur three days prior to each competition.

MASKING

In football, volleyball and soccer, all coaches, staff and non-competing personnel will be required to wear face coverings on the sideline and physical distancing will be employed to the extent possible.

In cross country, competing student-athletes are required to wear a face covering at the starting line, which may be removed when proper distancing has been achieved. Coaches and staff associated with cross country competition are expected to utilize social distancing to the extent possible and will be required to wear a face covering during pre- and post-competition.

OTHER NOTES

Each institution is required to designate a COVID-19 Protocol Oversight Officer who will be responsible for education and ensuring compliance with the SEC’s COVID-19 management requirements.

The SEC announced in July that student-athletes in all sports who elect to not participate in intercollegiate athletics during the fall 2020 academic semester because of health and/or safety concerns related to COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.

The full SEC Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force Requirements for COVID-19 Management of Fall Sports can be found at https://link.zixcentral.com/u/e144f42f/8C9-5rTY6hGHqwsFh3soMg?u=http%3A%2F%2Fa.espncdn.com%2Fsec%2Fmedia%2F2020%2FSEC%2520Task%2520Force%2520Recommendations%2520Fall.pdf

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF ANNOUNCES SCHEDULE CHANGES FOR THE 2020-21 SEASON

The College Football Playoff (CFP) selection committee will release its final rankings of the 2020-21 season Sunday, December 20, executive director Bill Hancock announced. The top four teams will participate in the Playoff Semifinals Friday, January 1, in the Rose Bowl Game and Sugar Bowl. The national championship game will be played Monday, January 11, at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The final rankings were originally scheduled to be released Sunday, December 6. The CFP Management Committee made the change as a result of several conferences having moved their championship games to December 12, 18 or 19.

The committee’s final meeting of the season will be December 18-19-20 in Grapevine, Texas. The CFP will announce the full schedule of this fall’s selection committee meetings at a later date.

“With recent schedule changes for the regular season, it makes sense for the committee to make its final rankings after the conference championship games, when it can get a complete picture of the season,” Hancock said. “The selection committee members understand the need to be flexible as we all navigate uncharted waters this season, and this move will allow them to evaluate all the available information.”

The Management Committee also shortened the post-season travel time for teams. The two teams participating in the CFP National Championship will arrive in Miami on Saturday afternoon, January 9, 2021 instead of the usual Friday evening arrival. With this change, media day, typically held on Saturday morning in the host city, will not take place this year. Details on virtual media availabilities will be announced at a later date. The Rose Bowl Game, Sugar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Orange Bowl and Peach Bowl will follow a similar three-day schedule.

“In this unprecedented time, the Management Committee believes it is in the best interest for the health and safety of the student-athletes, coaches and staffs to complete their game-week preparation on campus, under the familiar protocols they will have used all season,” said Hancock. “This is an unfortunate consequence of the pandemic, but it is the right thing to do.”

For additional information on the selection committee and its weekly rankings, and to view the selection committee protocol in its entirety, please visit CollegeFootballPlayoff.com.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

SEC Announces New Fall Pre-Season Football Practice Schedule

The Southeastern Conference today announced adjusted dates for preseason football activities for SEC schools with the first allowable practice now scheduled for August 17th. The new SEC calendar provides student-athletes with more days off than required by the NCAA and fewer practices than permitted by current NCAA rules.

The new preseason calendar was developed based on recommendations of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force.

Last week the SEC announced its intention to begin the 2020 season on September 26th as it continues to monitor developments around COVID-19. The original start date of September 5 would have allowed for preseason football practice to begin August 7th.

In the revised SEC preseason football calendar, from August 7-16 schools are permitted to conduct up to 14 hours per week of strength and conditioning, meetings and walkthroughs.

Beginning August 17th and until the opening game, schools are allowed 25 practices with a limit of 20 hours per week of practice time. A five-day acclimatization period is required, with two days in helmets only, two days in shells and the fifth day in full pads.

Schools will be required to provide student-athletes a minimum of two days off each week until the week before the first game of the season.