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New SEC start dates, formats for fall seasons

Adam Sparks
Nashville Tennessean

NASHVILLE — The SEC has set start dates and formats for fall sports other than football, which is already scheduled to begin playing games on Sept. 26, while adjusting to COVID-19 concerns.

The new format includes cross country, soccer and volleyball seasons, as well as the fall golf and tennis seasons. Also, fall practices and intrasquad scrimmages will be permitted in baseball and softball, but exhibition games against outside competition will be prohibited in the fall semester.

All student-athletes who elect to not play during the fall 2020 semester because of health or safety concerns related to COVID-19 will still have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with their team.

Here are the highlights of the SEC's new fall sports formats:

Cross country

• Season runs from Sept. 11-Oct. 23 and consist of two or three events with minimum prior to SEC Championships on Oct. 30 in Baton Rouge, La.

• No restrictions on opponents; must adhere to SEC testing protocol the week leading into competition

• No more than 10 teams may compete in a single race. Schools may not compete in consecutive weeks

Soccer

• Season runs Sept. 18-Nov. 8 with eight regular-season SEC-only matches plus at least two matches at the SEC Tournament

• Regular season includes six divisional opponents and two crossover opponents (four home/four away)

• SEC Championship held Nov. 13-22 in Orange Beach, Ala.

• Team can participate in spring competition, as well, contingent on NCAA decisions later

Volleyball

• Season runs from Oct. 16-Nov. 27 with eight SEC-only matches

• Schedule includes four opponents, including same opponent twice in the same weekend

• Team can participate in spring competition, as well, contingent on NCAA decisions later

Golf and Tennis

• Teams may compete in as many as three events, but no earlier than Oct. 1

• Opponents must be limited to only SEC members and nonconference teams in the school's geographic region