Texas A&M AD Ross Bjork offers insight into SEC's recent meeting, discusses possibility of Aggies hosting Arkansas in 2020
The leadership of the athletics programs all across the Southeastern Conference were recently summoned to meet at the league’s headquarters in Birmingham this week to discuss the plan of action moving forward with the upcoming college football season scheduled to start in less than two months.
While the specific details of that meeting remain behind closed doors, Texas A&M AD Ross Bjork recently offered some insight into what those meetings involved.
“A lot of (the SEC’s task force’s recommendations) are already on the table with how we’re operating already,” Bjork said on the school’s official website. “But we talked a lot about testing protocol and what that will look like during the season. How do we test, not only our team, but also the opponent? How do the officials get tested? What happens on the sideline? What do the coaches have to do to not only protect themselves but protect the players? We heard a great report from them.”
Following the meeting, Texas A&M and the SEC are moving forward as scheduled with the Aggies set to open the season at home on Saturday, Sept. 5 against Abilene Christian.
“Look, everything is on the table. You have to consider everything,” Bjork added. “Right now, the only thing that we know is that no one has told us we cannot play. But we also haven’t been given the green light, per se. We’re proceeding, but we’ve not necessarily been told ‘you have permission to do this’. And we need that permission at some point in time.
“At the end of the day, we still have some time. ‘Some’ is the key word. We understand that time is ticking. We know big decisions have to be made, but let’s see where the data goes and what society allows us to go forward with.”
Texas A&M is one of the few SEC programs affected by the Pac-12’s decision to go to a conference-only schedule, as the Aggies were scheduled to play Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 19 at Kyle Field. Now that Colorado won’t be making that trip, Texas A&M doesn’t anticipate filling that game on the schedule will be very difficult.
“I had a lot of scheduling conversations over the weekend. There’s lots of ADs that are scrambling right now,” Bjork said. “Look, opponents will not be hard to find. That will not be the issue. Finding the game piece will not be the hard part.”
Bjork also added an interesting comment regarding the Arkansas game, which is annually held in Arlington. If the SEC shifts to a conference-only schedule, the Aggies would lose four home games and drop the team’s total from seven to three this season.
If that were to happen, Bjork wants Arkansas to travel to College Station instead of meeting the Aggies in Arlington.
“We would need that game on campus,” the Aggie AD said of the Arkansas game. “You guys know my philosophy on that game long-term. To me, that game should be on campus anyway. But if something were to happen this year, we’d do everything we can to move that game to our campus. This year it’s our home game.”
The annual series between Texas A&M and Arkansas hasn’t been held on campus since the 2013 season but if the SEC plays a conference-only schedule, we could very well see the series return to College Station for the first time since 2012.