The SEC is planning to forge ahead with the 2020-2021 football season as scheduled.
"Our focus is on playing the season as scheduled." SEC Associate Commissioner Herb Vincent told WBIR. "That’s what we're working towards. That’s what we’re preparing for."
NBC Sports reported on Thursday that presidents from SEC schools will vote next Friday on whether to bring student athletes back to campus on June 1st or June 15th.
This decision will help with the timeline on the return of college football, however, SEC associate commissioner Herb Vincent says the SEC must take it step-by-step.
"People are focusing maybe on the wrong date." said Vincent. "People want to find out when we can start playing football. We really need to determine when we can get our student athletes back to campus or back to a situation where they can prepare to practice to play football."
And how long will student-athletes have to practice before they can play? The conference is putting together a team of medical professionals representing each university that will help decide the minimum amount practice time. The NCAA is discussing anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks.
"Usually football practice starts around the beginning of August." Vincent explained. "We have to remember most of these student athletes didn’t have a spring practice behind them and a lot of them have been at home, hopefully working out on their own, but we can’t put them in a position where they’re at risk medically, or to injury. They have to train to be ready for practice and practice to be ready for the season, so those things have to go in a chronological order and we have to determine when that time starts."
NCAA President Mark Emmert said the NCAA won’t force a uniform return. This means we might see some schools return to practice and games before the others. ESPN and SEC Network Host, Peter Burns says this could create some competitive equity issues.
"When it comes to the level playing field of recruiting and all NCAA type guidelines, I think there needs to be that level playing field, but the NCAA doesn’t tell you when you can play, that ultimately ends up being a conference call," Burns told WBIR.
The SEC and Tennessee are both planning for a football season as scheduled, but it could be July before any decisions are made official.