Georgia-Virginia likely off; SEC commissioner Greg Sankey issues official statement
ATHENS — SEC commissioner Greg Sankey made it clear on Wednesday night there’s no room for speculation at this time in his league office.
Sankey issued a statement shortly after the ACC announced it’s 11-game schedule model. The ACC will include Notre Dame within its league schedule, with each conference member playing 10 league opponents plus one in-state non-conference game:
Sankey had no interest in responding to rumors that the SEC is expected to follow suit with a similar schedule model, saying:
“It is not appropriate to respond to anonymous sources and speculation. We continue to our discussions focused on the return of fall sports, including football. We will announced any decisions at the appropriate time.”
SEC on deck
SEC league presidents have a Zoom call scheduled on Thursday.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity told DawgNation earlier on Wednesday that the league scheduling model would be the focus of the discussion.
The ACC’s new schedule model stipulates that ACC non-conference games must be played in the home state of the ACC school.
That rules out Georgia opening the season against Virginia in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Sept. 7, as previously scheduled.
Gary Stokan, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff organizer, had suggested last week the ACC and SEC were looking at scheduling models that could eliminate a pair of Mercedes-Benz Stadium games.
Georgia is scheduled to open SEC play at Alabama on Sept. 19, as the current schedule stands, with a Sept. 12 home game East Tennessee.
Eight or 10?
The SEC has been considering scheduling models that include both eight and 10 conference games, with the addition of just one non-conference game.
McGarity told DawgNation weeks ago that UGA would prioritize a non-conference game with Georgia Tech over others.
Georgia playing the Yellow Jackets in Athens, Ga., would meet the ACC’s requirements for non-conference play.
The game is currently scheduled for Nov. 28, but there remains a possibility that it could be moved to another date, per sources.
Sports Illustrated reported on Wednesday the SEC could be moving closer toward a 10-game conference schedule.
Sankey has said throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that the SEC would look to make a decision near the end of July.
Recently, however, Sankey and other league officials indicated late July could serve as more of a “check point.”
The SEC is currently not scheduled to begin play until the weekend of Sept. 5.
The NCAA recently granted a so-called “blanket waiver” to all FBS teams which would allow them to move up their opening game to Aug. 29, in much the same manner Oklahoma has done with its game against Missouri State.
A built-in bye week would provide a cushion for any player who tests positive for COVID-19. The NCAA released an updated resocialization executive summary that mandates players who test positive be isolated for 10 days.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 went to a league-only schedule model to provide more flexibility in the scheduling, in the event of outbreaks that could lead to postponed games.
Sankey has discussed moving back the SEC Championship Game to allow for greater schedule flexibility. The league title is currently scheduled for Dec. 7.
The ACC, in its schedule model release, said its championship game will be Dec. 12 or Dec. 19 and feature the top two teams by winning percentage.
Statement from SEC commissioner Greg Sankey:
“It is not appropriate to respond to anonymous sources and speculation. We continue to our discussions focused on the return of fall sports, including football. We will announce any decisions at the appropriate time.”
— Dave Matter (@Dave_Matter) July 29, 2020
ADs agreed on the matter Wednesday and presidents are expected to meet Thursday, though they may delay a decision until next week.
This is a fluid situation. https://t.co/er591whOF0
— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) July 29, 2020
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