College Football In Peril As More Conferences Cancel Season
Updated: Jul 24
Birmingham, Ala. - SEC football fans would normally have a lot to talk about around the water cooler these days. SEC Media Days, a July mainstay, brings players, coaches, and national media from across the SEC and country to Birmingham. Today though, sports radio hosts and writers can merely speculate about the potential for games as Media Days was cancelled due to the coronavirus outbreak, and more schools and conferences are announcing the foregoing of their fall sports calendar.
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announced today it was cancelling all fall sports, including football. The MEAC is made up of HBCUs and had 7 games against FBS (formerly called Division 1) opponents scheduled this year. The MEAC joins the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), which counts Tuskegee University as a member, in cancelling fall sports. The Ivy League announced last week it too would suspend all sports until January 2021.
Even if the SEC decides to play, the season already looks different as big ticket conference games like Alabama vs. USC have already been cancelled. The Auburn vs. UNC game is also expected to be axed. As conferences like the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC look to play an in-conference schedule only, if any, the scramble is on to make contingencies. Greg Sankey, SEC Commissioner, said in a statement that the conference would wait until the end of July to make a decision. “Late July will provide the best clarity for making the important decisions ahead of us,” Sankey said. But he cautioned that “it is clear that current circumstances related to COVID-19 must improve and we will continue to closely monitor developments around the virus on a daily basis.”
LSU Coach Ed Orgeron told Vice President Mike Pence at a meeting in Louisiana that football “is the lifeblood of our country.” While the SEC allowed its players to return to campus on June 8, as of now, teams can't begin to hold in-person meetings and walk-through practices until July 24. Mid-American Conference (MAC) Commissioner Jon Steinbreacher told the Paul Finebaum Show that “we need heroes right now. We need heroes through sports. We’re missing that. But I don’t know when it’s going to come, and we have to make sure to do it safely.”