Jacksonville Sports Day

SEC Establishes New Football Start Date, Conference-Only Football Competition

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Southeastern Conference has established Sept. 26 as the new kickoff for it 2020 football season to allow its universities to focus on the healthy return of their campus communities and the gradual re-introduction of athletics, as the 14 members of the SEC continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19.

“The safety of our student-athletes, staff and fans will remain the top priority as we navigate the return to collegiate athletic competition,” UF athletics director Scott Stricklin said. “We will continue to lean on the advice of the SEC Medical Task Force, UF Health, CDC, Campus and state health officials as we develop safety protocols and stadium capacity guidelines.”

The decision to limit competition to Conference-only opponents and rescheduling the SEC Championship Game is based on the need for maximum flexibility in making any necessary scheduling adjustments while reacting to developments around the pandemic and continued advice from medical professionals.

“Once we have an idea of what our attendance capacity could be, we will release our ticketing and seating plan and communicate that to our 2020 season ticket holders,” Stricklin added. “That plan will include multiple, flexible options for 2020 and whatever option they choose, their season tickets will be available for them to renew in the 2021 season.”

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

This action was taken following extensive discussions and thorough deliberation among the SEC’s Presidents and Chancellors, Athletics Directors, Conference Office staff, and medical advisors, led by the SEC’s Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force

The SEC announced in July that the sports of men’s and women’s cross country, soccer and volleyball would be postponed through at least August 31. Start dates and schedules for those sports, as well as sports in their non-traditional seasons during the fall, will be announced at a later date.

The SEC announced in July that student-athletes in all sports who elect to not participate in intercollegiate athletics during the fall 2020 academic semester because of health and/or safety concerns related to COVID-19 will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.

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