According to Brandon Marcello of 247Sports.com, the SEC hasn’t begun considering moving back the start of the college football season due to the Covid-19 crisis.
“The Southeastern Conference has not formulated or even discussed a contingency plan for a spring football season in 2021 should the novel coronavirus force the postponement of the 2020 fall football season, an industry source familiar with the discussions tells 247Sports,” he reports.
The SEC is the most important league in the sport not only because of the overwhelming size of the fan bases and revenue generated by them, but because of the television eyeballs they generate. If they were to shift to a later schedule, or cancel the 2020 season entirely, the entire sport would be thrown into flux.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has said before that right around late July is when the league will consider whether the scheduled and traditional Labor Day Weekend kickoff is still feasible in 2020.
“I think that’s probably a late-July time period. My thinking has shifted a bit,” Sankey said in June on The Rich Eisen Show. “We started June 8 after a two-week oversight, diagnostic medical exam period for these voluntary activities. We’ll have three or four weeks — on the 13th of July is when a little bit more practice can begin. I think we deserve the chance to see how that progresses. I would say before we get into full-blown practice, you’re going to be in that decision-making process as it relates to what happens on Labor Day weekend, which is the scheduled start of the season.”
States in the south are amongst the national leaders in new cases of Covid-19, with Florida and Texas already rolling back some of the previously allowed re-openings of retail businesses. With the pandemic hitting harder in the footprint of the league, it could have larger effects on the sport as a whole when considering non-conference games and when bowls or championships would be played.
Because having a college football season without the SEC isn’t something anyone wants, and that includes television networks that pay big money to air the games.