SEC will limit football season to conference schedule

SEC will limit football season to conference schedule

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Southeastern Conference will become the fourth Power 5 conference to limit its football schedule, Commissioner Greg Sankey announced Thursday.

The season will begin Sept. 26 and schools will play a 10-game conference schedule, and the SEC Championship Game will be played Dec. 19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the conference said. That moves the original conference title game back two weeks.

The schedule will include a midseason open date for each school, with a Dec. 12 open date for all conference members.

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The decision came after the league’s 14 presidents and chancellors are met remotely Thursday to discuss football scheduling options, according to AL.com.

“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,” Sankey said. “This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities.”

A revised schedule will be announced at a later date, the SEC said.

The move by the SEC follows Wednesday’s announcement by the Atlantic Coast Conference. ACC officials said the league was limiting its football schedule to 11 games, while Notre Dame will play 10 conference foes and will be eligible for the ACC title game.

The Big Ten announced three weeks ago that it will play a conference-only season for all fall sports, including football. The next day, the Pac-12 announced it would be limiting fall sports to a conference-only schedule because of the pandemic.

The 2020 SEC football season will be comprised of a 10-game Conference-only schedule and the SEC Football Championship Game will be played December 19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, rescheduled from the original date of December 5. The schedule will include one mid-season open date for each school and an open date on December 12 for all schools.

The Big 12 is the only Power 5 conference that has not determined its fall schedule. The league’s president will meet Monday to consider several models, Commissioner Bob Bowlsby told ESPN.