The Sun Belt Conference has made the call on its 2020 schedule, announcing on Monday that Sept. 3 is the first permissible date for season openers. For any schedules the new first date of play effects, the Sun Belt is putting responsibility on rescheduling on each league program. The league is keeping non-conference and eight-game conference schedules, per Keff Ciardello.
“This delay will allow conference members additional time to implement protocols for a safe return to competition,” a Sun Belt release reads. “The Sun Belt Conference and each member institution will continue to lean on the COVID-19 Advisory Panel, which has worked diligently to establish protocols and guidelines that will ensure the health and well-being of student-athletes, coaches and staff as they return to play.”
Sources told Pony Stampede on Monday that SMU’s opener vs. Texas State will be rescheduled on played on Aug. 29. Per Billy Embody, the move gives some schedule flexibility for the teams as COVID-19 currently has thrown plenty of wrenches into the plans for the college football season as all Power Five leagues outside of the Big 12 have moved to a conference-only schedule. SMU began fall camp on Monday.
The SEC became the fourth Power 5 conference to announce its revised plan for the 2020 season last week, revealing its 10-game, league-only slate. Thus far, only Group of 5 leagues are expected to try and keep full schedules with an intention to add games that may be affected by previously scheduled Power 5 opponents.
The SEC won’t begin play until Sept. 26, according to league commissioner Greg Sankey.
“The 2020 SEC football season will be comprised of a 10-game Conference-only schedule and the SEC Football Championship Game will be played December 19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, rescheduled from the original date of December 5,” the SEC said in a statement. “The schedule will include one mid-season open date for each school and an open date on December 12 for all schools.”
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