The Southeastern Conference announced Sept. 26 as the new kickoff date for its 10-game, conference-only fall football schedule.
The SEC Football Championship game, originally planned for Dec. 5, was pushed back to Dec. 19 and will be played at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. This new schedule will include one mid-open season date for each school as well as one open date for all schools on Dec. 12.
“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 announcement. “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 decision comes after all 14 members of the commission carefully discussed the need for flexibility to make adjustments while taking pandemic developments and professional advice into consideration.
“Most of all, we are grateful that our football student-athletes will have the opportunity to resume competition,” Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter said. “We will continue to allow the health and safety of all those involved to drive our decisions as we move forward in the process. Upcoming announcements will include details on the capacity limits set forth by state leaders and the attendance plan for season ticket holders, students, and fans, as we welcome the Ole Miss family back to Vaught-Hemingway this fall.”
Decisions regarding safety precautions during athletic events, such as tailgating and other game-day activities, have not been finalized, and a revised 2020 SEC football schedule will be announced at a later date.
“We believe these schedule adjustments offer the best opportunity to complete a full season by giving us the ability to adapt to the fluid nature of the virus and the flexibility to adjust schedules as necessary if disruptions occur,” Sankey said. “It is regrettable that some of our traditional non-conference rivalries cannot take place in 2020 under this plan, but these are unique, and hopefully temporary, circumstances that call for unconventional measures.”