TUSCALOOSA — The University of Alabama’s September 5 game versus USC will not be played due to a Pac-12 decision to play league-only games in 2020.
“As I’ve said before, USC AD Mike Bohn and I had multiple conversations over the last several months, and we were both planning on playing the football game on September 5 in Arlington,” Alabama athletics director Greg Byrne said in a statement on Friday. “With the Pac-12′s decision to move to a conference-only schedule, we will do our best to adjust. What that looks like is to be determined.”
Alabama was set to receive a $6 million payout for the game in Dallas, Texas.
The Southeastern Conference’s 14 athletic directors will meet in Birmingham on Monday to discuss plans for the 2020 football season but numerous options remain in the discussion, including but not limited to a conference-only schedule. However, no decision had been reached on Friday, sources told The Tuscaloosa News, despite a tsunami of speculation.
Sports Illustrated reported the AD meeting initially, noting that the plan to meet had been in place prior to Thursday’s surprise move by the Big Ten to announce a league only schedule. That announcement took most athletic administrators around the nation by surprise but The Tuscaloosa News has confirmed that after an initial flurry of speculation, at least three leagues — the SEC, Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 — are committed to hold further discussions before committing to a single plan.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, who said in a radio interview earlier this week that many contingency plans remained “on the table,” issued a statement on Thursday night that indicated additional meetings may follow the one on Monday before a final plan is announced.
“The Southeastern Conference will continue to meet regularly with our campus leaders in the coming weeks, guided by medical advisors, to make the important decisions necessary to determine the best path forward related to the SEC fall sports,” Sankey said in a statement released on Thursday evening.
“We recognize the challenges ahead and know the well-being of our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans must remain at the forefront of those decisions.”
ACC Commissioner John Swafford issued a similar statement on Friday, indicating that no immediate decision would come from that league.
“The health and safety of our student-athletes, coaches and administrators remains the ACC’s top priority. As we continue to work on the best possible path forward for the return of competition, we will do so in a way that appropriately coincides with our universities’ academic missions.
“Over the last few months, our conference has prepared numerous scenarios related to the fall athletics season. The league membership and our medical advisory group will make every effort to be as prepared as possible during these unprecedented times, and we anticipate a decision by our Board of Directors in late July.”
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