The future of college football in the SEC is at an important crossroads as the conference is expected to announce its ultimate plans in the next eight days on the future of the 2020 season. Not much is known about which way the SEC is leaning but there are many options that are being considered.
On Tuesday, commissioner Greg Sankey said during an appearance on College Football Live that there still is no timeline on an announcement but thinks it'll likely come sometime next week.
“I haven’t put a deadline (on it), I’ve actually put dates out there," Sankey said. "I wrote out the timeline way back in May and I realize how much has changed since then. We look at next week as an important milestone. The way I’ll explain it: I’ve finished 41 marathons in my life and I realize you’re going go mile by mile and we are on that journey. The challenge right now is to understand where that finish line may be.”
The conference has already delayed the start of a few fall sports including volleyball, cross country and soccer until the beginning of September. It was a decision that was made last week when the SEC and its 14 athletic directors met on July 13 to discuss contingency plans.
Sankey said he came out of that day-long meeting with a "sobering" feel on where things stand at the moment and what those plans look like.
“There was a significant element in that conversation that was sobering,” Sankey said. “It was a realization of what is happening around us, of the decisions that are coming. Not that there hadn’t been attention to that, but when you get in a room with all of your colleagues and you start walking through the different decisions to be made, I think that’s sobering for everyone.”
One of the plans that has been reported is to push a college season back to the spring. Sankey said that likely was not an option the SEC would consider because there are no assurances that things will be better in the spring.
"As you look at cold and flu season which people have talked about, the deeper you go, the more problematic that can be," Sankey said. "And we’re all in this world of unpredictability, we are building the bridge as we cross the river, and writing the instructional manual as we do so.”
The other plans that will be considered is a switch to an all-conference schedule or a conference only schedule that includes one or two non-conference games. LSU coach Ed Orgeron has been one of the biggest advocates of the college football season occurring in the fall.
"Obviously this is not my decision but my gut feeling is we're going to play, we're preparing to play and I don't want my players to be thinking any other way. Whether we start Sept. 5 or a little bit later, I don't know that for sure," Orgeron said on Marty and McGee. "I know this, I do believe we're going to play, I'm almost certain that we're going to play. The SEC needs football, the state of Louisiana needs football, our country needs football, it's time to get going."