It’s the middle of July on the calendar. This is usually around the time college football fans can almost taste the season it’s so close.
In the SEC, this week would usually signify the unofficial kickoff of the season, with SEC Media Days taking place over a four-day span in the heart of the south.
But instead of all 14 coaches and numerous media members converging in Atlanta for what would usually be a week full of laughs and a little smack talk, there was a much different tone on Monday at the SEC Office in Birmingham, Alabama.
Commissioner Greg Sankey held a meeting with all 14 athletic directors to discuss a variety of issues surrounding the fate of fall sports in the conference, according to a release sent out by the SEC. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the athletic directors since March.
No Final Decisions Yet For Conference
While leagues like the BIG Ten and PAC-12 have already made the choice to go the route of a conference-only schedule this football season, and the ACC also leaning in that direction as well, the SEC is deciding to hold off any major decisions till the end of July, according to Sankey.
During Monday’s meeting, the commissioner and athletic directors met to discuss the issues. They discussed scheduling possibilities for holding athletic events in the fall, according to the conference’s news release. Furthermore, there were also talks surrounding how the league can maintain a safe, healthy environment at these games for its student-athletes, coaches, officials, staff and possibly fans.
Of course, before the conference can consider playing in the fall, the public health situation needs to improve, Sankey said.
Sankey said the health and well-being of the coaches and student-athletes will always be a top priority for the SEC.
Taking Notes From the Pros
Slowly and very cautiously, professional sports has started to make its return in the U.S. Soccer, NASCAR and golf are all back in action, with the MLB and NBA set to kick off at the end of this month.
The reemergence of sports again has caught the eye of those in the college game, including Sankey. He said watching and reading how some of the leagues implement protocols will help the SEC.
Questions surrounding whether the college football season will be played remain to be unanswered.
Fans of the sport have already seen some of the dominos start to fall, with both the IVY League and Patriot League making the decision to cancel fall sports all together due to concerns over COVID-19.
The Big Ten and PAC-12 have already shifted to conference-only schedules. It will be interesting to see what direction the SEC decides to take.
These next couple of weeks should be huge for the conference and college football as a whole.
Sound used in this story is courtesy of ABC Newscall.