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The SEC Championship Game is expected to be moved back to Dec. 19.

SEC opts for 10-game league schedule, pushes back start of season

ATHENS — The SEC is moving to a 10-game conference-only schedule with the season slated to begin on Sept. 26.

The league is also moving back the SEC Championship Game to Dec. 19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision to play a conference games-only model provides more flexibility within the season should an outbreak or other complications arise.

The SEC has not released the modified season schedule, indicating it will be released “at a later date following approval by the Conference’s athletics directors.”

RELATED: Georgia issues statement on new schedule model

Georgia was originally scheduled to begin the season against Virginia on Sept. 7 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, and kick off the league portion of the slate SEC at Alabama on Sept. 19.

“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,” Greg Sankey said in the Thursday afternoon release.

“This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities.”

There was speculation the SEC would go to a 10-game league schedule heading into Thursday’s Zoom video conference meeting of league presidents.

 

The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced earlier this month they are playing a conference-only schedules and are expected to play 10 games.

The ACC announced on Wednesday that its playing a 10-game conference schedule– which includes Notre Dame as a conference member — plus one non-conference game.

The SEC’s decision to go to a conference-only schedule means Georgia and Georgia Tech will not play this season.

Sankey explained why in the SEC release.

“We believe these schedule adjustments offer the best opportunity to complete a full season by giving us the ability to adapt to the fluid nature of the virus and the flexibility to adjust schedules as necessary if disruptions occur,” Sankey said.

“It is regrettable that some of our traditional non-conference rivalries cannot take place in 2020 under this plan, but these are unique, and hopefully temporary, circumstances that call for unconventional measures.”

More details as they develop

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