After a meeting between the SEC presidents on Thursday, the SEC will be moving to a 10-game conference-only schedule for football. The season will start on Sept. 26, and the SEC Championship is set for Dec. 19.
"After careful consideration of the public health indicators in our region and following advice of our medical advisors, we have determined that this is the best course of action to prepare for a safe and healthy return to competition for SEC student-athletes, coaches and others associated with our sports programs," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey.
The 10-game schedule includes one mid-season bye for each school and an additional bye on Dec. 12.
The Big Ten and PAC-12 announced earlier this month that they are moving to a conference-only schedule. While the ACC announced on Wednesday, it will play an 11-game regular season with one non-conference game.
Auburn was scheduled to play four non-conference games, but those are now canceled without a known plan to make up those games. Auburn was set to play Alcorn State, North Carolina, Southern Miss and UMass this fall.
"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 released at a later day, per the SEC's release.
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Following the announcement, Auburn Athletic Director Allen Greene released the following statement in support of the SEC's decision.
"The health and safety of our student-athletes, staff and fans remains our top priority," Greene said. "In that spirit, we deeply appreciate Commissioner Sankey's leadership and the tireless efforts of the Conference staff during ongoing discussions related to fall competition."
"The Presidents and Chancellors' decision to implement a 10-game, conference-only schedule for the 2020 football season is prudent and the Tigers are fully supportive," Greene said. "While the format of the football schedule is confirmed, there are many other items related to football and other fall sports that warrant robust discussion, and the leaders in the Southeastern Conference are committed to working through these discussions in a thoughtful manner."
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