“This is the right decision”| Texas A&M eagerly awaits football season despite schedule changes
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) - The presidents from the Southeastern Conference have announced that the college football league plans to play a 10-game conference-only schedule this fall, according to a statement.
The season will begin Sept. 26, with the championship game planned for Dec. 19. The divisional structure is expected to remain the same, meaning the winners of two seven-team divisions will play in the championship game.
“This new plan for a football schedule is consistent with the educational goals of our universities to allow for the safe and orderly return to campus of their student populations and to provide a healthy learning environment during these unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 virus,” said Greg Sankey SEC commissioner in a statement. “This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities.”
The rescheduled start to the season will allow the SEC to continue to monitor health trends across its 11 participating states, as well as monitor developments in technology around mitigation and treatment of the virus, including:
- Trends in public health indicators throughout the SEC’s 11-state footprint, including positive cases of COVID-19, hospitalizations and recovery statistics
- State, local and campus heath directives, including restrictions on gatherings, isolation requirements for travelers, and other health and travel restrictions
- Continued development of risk mitigation strategies
- Continued advancement in COVID-19 testing reliability and availability
- Continued evolution of time-based strategies for resuming activities after positive test results, including contact tracing, isolation and quarantine requirements
- Observation of successes and challenges presented by return to competition in other sports
A revised schedule for the 2020 SEC football season will be announced at a later date, pending approval from the Conference’s athletic directors.
“This is the right decision for the SEC, our athletics program, and most importantly the well-being of our student-athletes,” said Ross Bjork, Director of Athletics at Texas A&M. “Given the evolving nature of the current health challenge and the potential variables our University faces when thousands of students return to College Station, we believe a late September start for college football gives our students, student-athletes, staff, coaches, and university community the safest environment possible. An ‘SEC-only’ schedule gives us clarity, hope, and optimism as we approach the weeks and months ahead.
Bjork said that Texas A&M will be releasing details concerning Kyle Field capacity, following Gov. Abbott’s executive orders, and options for season ticket holders, students and fans.
Texas A&M is also working with the University of Arkansas and officials at AT&T stadium to move the football game to Kyle Field, since Texas A&M is the designated home team for the 2020 season, according to Bjork.
The president of Texas A&M University, Michael K. Young, noted that the new school year and changing football season are all just part of the “new normal”.
“We’re excited about the return of our students in August, and football in Kyle Field beginning in September,” said Young. “I want to thank all of our staff and faculty here for their hard work, and SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey for his leadership in working with us to prepare for return to school and competition. Students will be back in class and in a new normal as we gear up for football in Kyle Field.”
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