Athletic directors from across the Southeastern Conference met at the SEC Office in Birmingham Monday to discuss the conference’s game plan for resuming collegiate athletics amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Their decision was… No decision, for now. SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey still believes the right time to make a decision will come by the end of July.
“It is clear that current circumstances related to COVID-19 must improve and we will continue to closely monitor developments around the virus on a daily basis,” Sankey said. “In the coming weeks we will continue to meet regularly with campus leaders via videoconferences and gather relevant information while guided by medical advisors. We believe that late July will provide the best clarity for making the important decisions ahead of us.”
— Southeastern Conference (@SEC) July 13, 2020
Commissioner Sankey joined Paul Finebaum on the radio after the meeting. When asked about delaying a conference-wide decision (unlike the Big Ten and the Pac-12, which have both already decided on a conference-only season), Sankey said: “Let’s use time to the extent it’s available.” He added the Big Ten’s decision won’t have much of an impact on the SEC’s decision, as there weren’t SEC-Big Ten matchups scheduled for this fall anyway.
“We’ve had minimal impact to our direct schedule,” Sankey said.
SEC Commissioner @GregSankey says we need to see a change in the trend of coronavirus cases to have a CFB season: “The trends are not what we desired. Pretty much in the wrong direction. That’s problematic. But it’s not the finish line.”
— Paul Finebaum (@finebaum) July 13, 2020
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey on @finebaum: "We have to see a change in public health trends" to "have an opportunity to compete this fall."
— Nicole Auerbach ? (@NicoleAuerbach) July 13, 2020
In Monday’s meeting, the athletic directors heard a report from members of the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force. They discussed issues relevant to the current pre-season calendar and the approaching fall seasons of competition, including an update on current COVID-19 testing procedures in place at each school. For Kentucky, that means testing all of its student athletes.
Monday’s meeting marked the first in-person meeting of the Conference’s athletics directors since the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament was shut down in March. SEC athletic directors have been communicating via videoconference multiple times per week since then, but they were able to meet in person Monday thanks to a large conference room inside the SEC’s headquarters that allowed plenty of room for social distancing among the group. Several external groups and other individuals joined the meeting via videoconference.
Basically, the news means we’ll still have to wait and see.