Monday 14 Athletic Directors met in Birmingham with Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey. The agenda was set to discuss how the league would move forward through the summer and plan for sports in the fall.
With two Power 5 conferences already announcing they would move to a conference-only schedule in 2020, some expected the SEC to announce the same on Monday. The league, as it has said for months now, will continue to weigh the current landscape as it pertains to COVID-19 and will make a decision on fall sports at a later date in July.
“We had a productive meeting on Monday and engaged in discussions on a number of important issues that will contribute to critical decisions to be made in the weeks ahead,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. “The ability to personally interact over the course of an entire day contributed to the productivity of the meeting.”
This was the first in-person meeting between the league members, although they have been having almost daily virtual meetings over the course of the last several months.
After an initial flattening of the curve, testing numbers have begun surging in states, including Florida. Several schools across the country started voluntary workouts, only to halt them after multiple student-athletes tested positive for the virus. Sankey has been blunt in his assessment and was again on Monday afternoon.
“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.”
The SEC has continually said they will follow national and state guidelines. The league has a health advisory board that also is providing insight and expertise in this area.
Time is ticking, however. Every day we get closer to when fall camp would start and we do need answers. However, the league views going as far as the Ivy League did when it canceled all fall sports last week, or as far as the Big Ten and Pac-12 did a week ago moving to a conference only schedule as premature. It would be like taking a knee on the ball to run the clock out in the third quarter of a football game. The league has time and every day there is new information to be gathered and put to use.