The SEC has made its changes to the 2020 football season amid the COVID-19 pandemic. According to AL.com, the SEC is moving to a 10-game, conference-only schedule. The league is also pushing back the start of the season to Sept. 26 and the conference championship game to Dec. 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," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement. He went on to say the schedule supports the "safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities."
This move comes after the Big Ten announced it will move to a conference-only schedule. The ACC is also playing just conference games, but teams will be allowed to play a one-conference game. The SEC's decision means a number of big non-conference games will not be played such as Florida-Florida State, Georiga-Georgia Tech, South Carolina-Clemson, LSU-Texas, and Oklahoma-Tennessee. It was also announced that the USC-Alabama game that was going to be played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas has been canceled.
"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 added. He also said it's disappointing "some of our traditional non-conference rivalries cannot take place in 2020 under this plan," but the league and the rest of college football are in "unique, and hopefully temporary, circumstances that call for unconventional measures."
SEC fans might be a little upset with the move, but this decision hurts the smaller schools the most. According to ESPN, Louisiana-Monroe was set to face Georgia and Arkansas. With the SEC going conference only, Louisiana-Monroe will lose $3.2 million in guaranteed revenue from an operating budget of a little over $15 million. The SEC is the fourth Power 5 conference to announce its plan for the 2020 season. The Big 12 has not announced its plans, but that will come after school presidents meet on Monday.