Commissioner Greg Sankey Addresses Scheduling Format for Conference-Only Season

Volunteer Country Staff

The SEC ended a long period of concern on Thursday afternoon when it announced that the conference would move towards an SEC-Only schedule in an attempt to minimize the risk created by the Coronavirus Pandemic. While the move was preceded by numerous other conferences — including the ACC, Big Ten, and PAC-12 — the new schedule will undoubtedly take some time for SEC Fans to get used to.

While an earlier report from Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger indicated that the SEC already had a plan for which games it would add to each team’s schedule, the writer would later clarify that he was just “spit-balling” through a tweet on Thursday. Dellenger would later report that the SEC would instead use a variety of models to determine the conference’s new match-ups.

Commissioner Greg Sankey confirmed the news during a recent appearance with Paul Finebaum on the SEC Network, making it clear that the conference had not yet reached a decision on the scheduling format. “We’ve been running a number of models, if you will, and thinking about how that decision can be made,” said the SEC Commissioner. “Our athletics directors early in the week suggested (to) make the first decision so we (could) then make the second decision, and that the second decision is exactly what the format will look like.”

“I know our colleagues in the ACC were able to put out the match-ups quickly, and obviously (there are) some different dynamics there,” explained Sankey. “Our two other colleague conferences that made announcements earlier in July took a bit of time to make their announcement, in fact, we’re still waiting. So, we just want to make sure that we walk through what is a really difficult decision on altering the season, and then we’ll work towards finalizing exactly that format and be ready to go. I think in short order, with that information.”

The previous report from Dellenger claimed that Tennessee would add Ole Miss and LSU to their schedule, but if the SEC choses to take strength of schedule into account then that could change for the Vols. With Tennessee playing Alabama, Florida, and Georgia on an annual basis, the SEC could choose a couple of more mellow western opponents to level the playing field.

As things stand right now, the SEC season will begin on September 26th — with Tennessee opening their season against Florida in Knoxville. The Vols would play all of their traditional SEC East opponents as well as Alabama, with the additions of Arkansas and two other teams which haven’t been determined. The SEC Championship Game is currently scheduled to come on December 19th.