SEC Delays Start of Fall Competition for Three Sports

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Photo Courtesy: Mizzou Swim & Dive (@MizzouSwimDive)

The SEC on Tuesday announced a delay to the fall season for three sports due to the COVID-19 pandemic: Volleyball, soccer and cross country. The announcement makes mention of football nor does it offer a timeline on a decision about winter sports such as swimming.

The statement delays SEC competitions in the three sports through Aug. 31, inclusive of exhibition and non-conference games. The stated reason is to “provide additional time to prepare for the safe return of competition on an adjusted timeline.” It also leaves the rescheduling of postponed nonconference contests up to schools.

“The SEC continues to monitor developments related to COVID-19 as it evaluates the potential impact on fall schedules in all sports, with the understanding that the primary responsibility of the SEC and its institutions is to ensure the health and well-being of its student-athletes,” the statement reads.

Conspicuously absent is any mention of the sport that the SEC reveres with a religious zeal, football. It also offers no guidance or even a timeline for determining guidance on winter sports such as swimming, which begin in the middle of the fall semester.

The SEC move is more short-sighted in its scope than those of other power conferences, issued last week. The Pac-12 and Big 10 each limited its institutions to conference-only schedules for fall sports and included provisions about scholarships being honored if athletes opt out of the season due to safety concerns. The ACC’s decision last week was similar to the SEC’s in delaying all “Olympic sports” until Sept. 1 with blatant omission of football. But where the ACC reaffirmed that offseason workouts remain voluntary, the SEC’s statement included no such stipulation.

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