On Monday, athletic directors from across the SEC will be in Birmingham to meet with commissioner Greg Sankey about the future of fall sports this year.
Brandon Marcello, a national college football reporter for 247 Sports, and Tom Murphy of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette spoke with our Tera Talmadge about what could come out of that meeting.
We’ve already seen some conferences adopt a “conference only” schedule and it seems the SEC may be next to do so.
“They are just going to have to follow in the footsteps of the Big 10, the Pac 12, the holdouts so far even though this is such a quick turnaround are the ACC, the Big 12 and the SEC,” says Marcello. “The SEC as you mentioned is having that meeting on Monday. The AD’s are actually all meeting in Birmingham. It is the first time they have all met in person since they were in Nashville for the SEC Basketball Tournament since the pandemic began in the country. The idea is they are going to discuss options there. But the most likely scenario is they are going to come to terms with hey we need to play a conference only schedule like everybody else. My sources have told us at 247sports that that schedule will be between 8 to 10 games. The idea is let’s play 10 games and worst case scenario in that segment is to play six games. Which would all be against divisional rivals. So that is far down the road when they start tweaking things depending on how this virus goes. But there is still some steps to get there.”
Murphy agrees with Marcello and adds that, “Hunter Yurachek will go in and on Saturday Arkansas had its first 1,000 case day of Coronavirus. That is a spike. It is not a drop. Across the south there have been more states that have had rising than falling numbers. As much as I would like to hope there would be a full football season it doesn’t look likely. From the people I have talked to I don’t think they will come out with a hard fast decision tomorrow on what they are going to do. But they are probably going to have their options narrowed a little bit more.”
Many people are watching to see how the new MLB and NBA seasons pan out. Hoping that if those two leagues can make things work then maybe college football will work out as well. But both Marcello and Murphy say those a both completely different scenarios than that of college athletics.
“For one the NBA is in a localized situation where they are all staying pretty much in the same place at Walt Disney World Resort,” says Marcello. “They are being watched over. They are having their meals provided to them. Whereas college football and college athletics it is 100’s of campuses spread around the country in different hotspots. These players are parts of the community. They are not going to go practice and then they go sit in their dorm rooms isolated all day and all night after they are done with that in their on-line or in-person classwork. They have to go to the grocery store themselves. They have to go shopping. They are going to go hangout with friends. They are going to go party. They are college students. If you could do a college football situation where everybody gathered say in Indianapolis and they all stayed there for a few months and had a season I think it is very possible you would see a full season. But that is just not the case.”
Murphy adds, “As we have seen I think those LSU players coming off a national championship probably feeling very viral, strong and healthy went to TigerTown and south Louisiana was a hot spot. A lot of those guys got it and there had to be a lot of quarantining and such. So completely different scenarios.”
So what do they believe is the best case scenario for SEC football? Watch the video above to find out.