Student-athletes in the SEC will have the opportunity to sit out the fall semester without penalty.
This afternoon, the league announced all players electing 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.
According to the release, this action is the result of a unanimous vote of the SEC’s Presidents and Chancellors following a recommendation of the Conference’s Athletics Directors.
“SEC universities are committed to full support of its student-athletes, whether or not a student-athlete decides to participate in sports during these uncertain times,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “SEC student-athletes have frequently expressed their desire to compete, but it is important for student-athletes and their families to know the financial support committed to them by their institutions will not be at risk because of health concerns presented by the current pandemic.”
The SEC will continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19 to determine at a later date if the policy should be extended to the Spring semester of 2021 or beyond.
This news goes hand-in-hand with the recent development – as first reported by Sports Illustrated – that the SEC is considering numerous models to ensure a season is played this fall.
During a meeting this week at the league headquarters, SEC athletic directors discussed a potential move to a 10-game schedule, including eight conference games and two non-conference games.
According to Sports Illustrated, this potential move is one of several different models the league discussed during this week’s meeting, with two others being an eight-game conference-only schedule, along with a nine- or ten-game schedule, which would preserve at least one scheduled matchup with a Power 5 conference team.
The same report states that despite COVID-19 cases rising nationwide, specifically in the locations of various SEC schools, “the consensus among administrators is that their communities and athletes are strongly in favor of playing football this fall.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey has said that a final decision regarding the 2020 college football season is expected by late July.
While there is a long way to go before games are physically played, SEC officials and individual schools are going out of their way to create as much flexibility as they can for all parties involved to push for a safe return to action.