SEC football teams gearing up to begin fall camp this weekend can stop.
The conference office has approved a new preseason plan that delays practice deeper into August. As part of the plan, teams can practice 25 times over a 40-day period beginning on Aug. 17, sources tell Sports Illustrated. During that time, schools must adhere to the NCAA’s normal in-season football access time of 20 countable hours a week. Two days off each week are required. The new preseason plan expands the SEC’s practice window by 11 days, providing flexibility for more off days and potential COVID-19 related interruptions.
The SEC announced last week that it will play a 10-game conference-only schedule this fall starting on Sept. 26. The two additional opponents for each SEC team have not been released but are expected this week. The conference’s preseason plan eschews for at least this year its traditional camp, normally held before school begins and a time in which an unlimited amount of hours can be spent on football.
Many SEC staffs were preparing to begin camp at their scheduled time this weekend. The league is allowing coaches to continue the current 20-hour per week model until Friday. From Friday through Aug. 16, staffs will be restricted to 11 hours a week of football or strength work related events (six hours for strength and five hours for football). Their walk-throughs must be conducted without equipment. That includes no footballs, helmets or pads. In this enhanced access period, Friday to Aug. 16, teams have been granted three extra hours for non-football related meetings.