ATHENS — The Southeastern Conference announced it’s postponing the start of fall non-revenue sports volleyball, soccer and cross country until at least Aug. 31.
According to the release issued on Tuesday from the SEC league office in Birmingham, Ala.:
“The decision will provide additional time to prepare for the safe return of competition on an adjusted timeline. The delay in competition includes all exhibition and non-conference games.”
The SEC athletic directors met in person on Monday in Birmingham to discuss league dealings related to COVID-19.
Collegiate sports came to a halt on March 12, when the NCAA men’s basketball tournament was postponed and eventually cancelled as a result of the nation-wide pandemic.
The non-revenue sports which have seen their seasons pushed back were already dealing with canceled and altered events.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced last week they were going to conference-only events for all sports. In part, to better provide scheduling flexibility amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The collegiate football season, which generates a great majority of the revenue for most all FBS-level programs, also has an uncertain future.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told DawgNation last week that the ADs would further discuss the possibility conference-only schedule, which had already been among several scenarios under consideration.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey issued a statement on Monday that the league continues to explore its options.
“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,” Sankey said. “The ability to personally interact over the course of an entire day contributed to the productivity of the meeting.”
Sankey made it clear the COVID-19 trends will continue to be closely monitored.
“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.”
Sankey said last week that college football was running out of time to get things right.
The release issued on Tuesday indicates “SEC institutions will continue to follow the guidance of the Conference’s Return to Activity and Medical Advisory Task Force and the NCAA’s Resocialization of College Sports Guidelines as student-athletes are engaged in preseason preparation for a return to competition,”
Cross Country, soccer and volleyball will begin their practices in August, as originally scheduled.
Georgia football players will continue to take part in individual workouts under the supervision of the strength and conditioning staff, as the have since June 8.
Wednesday is the first day football workouts can be monitored by Coach Kirby Smart and his football staff.
The men’s and women’s basketball teams can begin supervised workouts next Monday.