With the 2020 football season expected to go on as currently planned, new game day protocols have been announced.
Earlier on Friday, the Southeastern Conference released guidelines that will apply to game operations for all 14 schools. Some of the main highlights include who will be allowed on the field as essential personnel, what will happen to on-field performances such as halftime shows, and how many members of the media will be allowed to attend.
“The health of those around SEC athletics events remains in focus and, following advice of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force, we continue to develop policies intended to provide a healthy return to competition,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. “Some of these are difficult decisions but are a reality of our circumstances, and we will continue to develop and refine policies as we monitor issues related to COVID-19.”
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) August 28, 2020
There were five overall areas that the SEC fleshed out: essential on-field personnel, ticketing, on-field performances, disinfection, and media operations.
The number of people that will be permitted to take the field is being seriously limited. According to the press release, the only people allowed on the actual field will be “individuals who have game day access to field and sideline, to include student-athletes, coaches and support personnel, game officials, medical personnel, limited institutional personnel, law enforcement, a limited number of photographers and contracted radio/TV personnel, and other limited personnel essential to the execution of the game.”
As for ticketing, the SEC announced that, if fans are ultimately allowed inside stadiums, the home team will be required to provide a minimum of 500 tickets for the visiting team, although the final number can be changed if both sides come to a mutual agreement. Next, it doesn’t sound like the bands will be taking the field anytime soon. This also includes the prohibiting of halftime shows along with any sort of award recognitions or presentation throughout the course of the game.
The host team will also be in charge of disinfecting both the home and away locker rooms and no one outside of the student-athletes or team staff will be allowed inside once the rooms are clean, including the media. Speaking of the media, all press conferences after games will be done virtually. Any members of the press who are granted access–which the SEC said will be 50 percent fewer than usual–will be required to wear a face mask.