SEC announces policies for how, when football games will be canceled because of COVID-19
The SEC's cancellation procedures for the COVID-19 era are official.
Per an announcement from the league office Friday, SEC football teams will need 53 active scholarship players to be able to play football games this fall. This requirement includes a minimum of seven offensive linemen, four defensive linemen and one quarterback.
With approval from commissioner Greg Sankey, schools that do not have enough players to play can request a game be rescheduled for a later date or declared a no-contest. Teams may also elect to play with fewer than the number of scholarship players with league approval to do so.
Even if a school has more than 53 scholarship players but doesn't feel it is properly prepared to play a game, it may request a rescheduling or no contest. Sankey alone has authority to judge in such situations.
The 2020 SEC football season begins on Sept. 26. The SEC has built in a universal bye week on Dec. 12 between the end of the regular season and the SEC Championship Game, where rescheduled games can likely be put.
These procedures are in place because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The conference has installed testing protocols to prevent players from spreading the virus on gamedays. This includes thrice-weekly mandatory testing for football players during game weeks and strict contact-tracing procedures for players who have interacted with anyone who has tested positive.
Any player who tests positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for two weeks. Division I football teams are allowed to give out 85 full scholarships to players, meaning for a team to go below the 53-scholarship minimum it would have to have more than 30 players in COVID-19 quarantine at the same time.
Contact Nick Suss at 601-408-2674 or email@example.com. Follow @nicksuss on Twitter.