Report reveals multiple SEC schedule scenarios discussed at AD meeting
On Monday, the 14 SEC athletic directors met at the conference office in Birmingham to discuss the 2020 fall schedule and other topics. The meeting did not lead to any changes to the fall schedule – yet – with Sankey saying a decision on the 2020 season would come later this month.
A recently published report by Ross Dellenger and Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated reveals that multiple schedule scenarios were discussed during the meeting, including adding additional opponents to the 2020 conference slate and moving to the spring.
While the conference has not yet ruled out a 12-game schedule, three alternatives emerged as fall options, “… an eight-game conference-only schedule and a nine or 10-game plan that would preserve at least one scheduled matchup with a Power 5 conference program.”
While Alabama-USC and Texas A&M-Colorado have been canceled by the Pac-12’s decision to go conference-only, the SEC still has 13 Power 5 games currently scheduled with opponents from the ACC and Big 12 along with independents BYU and Notre Dame. Those games could be potentially kept intact by 9-10 game models with eight conference games. While this plan is popular with the conference ADs, the SI report notes that varying COVID-19 testing protocols among the conferences could be an issue.
Per the article, scenarios involving 9-10-game all-conference slates are unpopular with the conference’s athletic directors:
A 10-game conference-only schedule is unlikely to gain much support because of its rigors but is one of the many proposals.
In a 10-game all-SEC slate, teams would keep their scheduled eight conference games while adding two more teams from the opposite division. … One athletic director described this plan as laughable. Even a nine-game conference-only schedule is getting pushback from league administrators, the AD says.
Moving the schedule from fall to spring is also not popular with the majority of SEC ADs:
Meanwhile, many SEC leaders are vehemently against a spring season, describing it as a “last resort” and a “fallback measure” that poses a range of issues, the biggest of which is the impact of a spring season on the 2021 fall season. Administrators fear turning a one-year problem into a two-year problem, they say. “It’s not going to work,” says one, flatly.
At least one SEC administrator went to the Birmingham meeting championing the idea of a spring season, seeing it as the most likely way to actually play. “I think spring is more viable than fall,” one SEC AD told SI last week.
The full report, which addresses more topics including the possibility of moving high-profile out-of-conference games such as LSU-Texas and Tennessee-Oklahoma can be read here.