The Southeastern Conference on Friday announced new policies around how it will deal with football game cancellations related to positive COVID-19 tests.
According to the new policy, teams must have at least 53 scholarship players available to play in any given game, including minimums at each position. If either team in any given contest fails to meet these criteria, the game may be canceled, rescheduled or declared a “no contest.”
Position breakdowns necessary for a game to take place include seven offensive linemen (which includes one center), one quarterback and four defensive linemen. The impacted institution has the option to play the game with fewer than the 53 scholarship players or fewer than the minimum number of position players listed above if it elects to do so.
“In addition, should an institution determine there are compelling reasons why it cannot begin a contest regardless of the scholarship and position minimums above, the institution may request to have the game rescheduled or, if the game cannot be rescheduled, for the game to be considered a no contest by presenting data (including total number of players not available to participate) outlining reasons why the game should not be played as scheduled,” the statement declares.
The final decision to reschedule or declare the game a no contest is vested only with SEC commissioner Greg Sankey.
The 2020 SEC football season is slated to begin September 26 and is comprised of a 10-game conference-only schedule, with the SEC Football Championship Game to be played December 19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, rescheduled from the original date of December 5. The schedule includes one mid-season open date for each school and an open date on December 12 for all schools.
Each SEC team will play 10 conference football games to include six games against division opponents and four games against non-division opponents.