In 2020, COVID-19 had a massive impact on the scheduling of the SEC’s football season as the conference saw multiple teams forced to reschedule its games due to roster minimum requirements. Thankfully the SEC had two open weeks built into each team’s schedule, but 2021 will have a different set up.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey share during his opening remarks at the conferences media days that the league will not be scheduling open weeks for teams this season. There will still be roster minimum requirements for each team to meet in order to take the field this fall.
Instead teams may need to forfeit their game should their roster not have enough players available to play.
“We still have roster minimums that exist, just like last year,” Sankey said. “What I’ve identified for consideration among our membership is we remove those roster minimums and you’re expected to play as scheduled. That means you team needs to be healthy to compete, and if not, that game won’t be rescheduled. And thus, to dispose of the game, the ‘forfeit’ word comes up at this point. That’s not a policy, and what you see are the bookends now for decision making.
“We’ve not built in the king of time we did last year, particularly at the end of the season, to accommodate disruption. And unless we’re going to do that, our teams are going to have to be fully prepared to play their season as scheduled, which is why embedded in my remarks in the vaccination motivation.”
Sankey also mentioned in his statement that the conference currently has seen six of its 14 teams reach the 80% vaccination threshold which are statistics the commissioner wants to see improve ahead of the start of the season.
“COVID-19 vaccines are widely avalialbe, proven to be highly effective and, when people are fully vaccinated, we all have the ability to avoid serious health risks, reduce the virus’ spread and maximize our chances to experience college sports– and life– like we are accustomed,” Sankey said.
This post will be updated.
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Patrick Dowd is a Reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter, via Pat_Dowd77