Watch list: Big 12, SEC taking time with scheduling decisions

AP Photo / Mark Humphrey

Greg Sankey, the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, addresses reporters in Nashville, Tennessee, on March 12. Sankey said the SEC will take more time to sort through its options before making a decision about its 2020 college football schedule.

• Editor’s note: There are more questions than answers regarding when, and how, college football will begin again. Each week until next season, The Transcript will produce its Watch List to monitor developments, setbacks or points of interest surrounding college football’s anticipated return.

The Southeastern Conference's athletics directors met Monday to discuss scheduling options for the 2020 college football season.

A week after the Big Ten and Pac-12 announced their member schools won’t play any nonconference football games, the SEC is choosing to wait before making any decisions.

"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," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement.

"In the coming weeks, we will continue to meet regularly with campus leaders via videoconferences and gather relevant information while guided by medical advisors. We believe that late July will provide the best clarity for making the important decisions ahead of us."

Multiple Big 12 schools are already looking to replace nonconference football games because of the Big Ten and Pac-12’s announcements. Oklahoma, as well as Texas, might soon join them in their searches if the SEC chooses to do the same in the coming weeks.

OU is scheduled to host Tennessee on Sept. 12, while Texas is expected to visit LSU the same day.

The SEC did announce one change to its athletic calendar — the league is postponing the start of its volleyball, soccer and cross country seasons through Aug. 31.

The Big 12 has yet to officially announce scheduling changes to any of its sports. Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said it’s too soon to make those calls during an interview with Dallas Morning News reporter Chuck Carlton.

”I believe it’s too early to be making those decisions,” Bowlsby told the Dallas Morning News. “Frankly, we haven’t been advised to do that by our scientists and medical advisors.”

• Trending up: The federal government rescinded regulations implemented by the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Tuesday. The rescinded rules were expected to force international college students to leave the United States within 10 days if their university transitioned to an online-only curriculum during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These regulations would have impacted college sports, as a whole, with its international college student-athletes. The threat of their abrupt departure, however, was nixed by the federal government’s ruling.

• Trending down: When football returns and if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's regulations permit travel, there will be one less hotel for out-of-town fans visiting Norman.

Sooner Legends Inn & Suites announced it’s closing its doors. The COVID-19 pandemic has put a financial strain on the family-owned business too difficult to overcome.

The hotel, which is located at 1200 24th Ave SW, was a de facto OU athletics museum with Sooner memorabilia decorating all parts of the building.

Hotel visitors took to social media Wednesday to express their grief for the business’ closing.

• Dates to consider: Aug. 3 — the start of the Big 12 Conference’s virtual media days. The conference originally planned to hold its media days July 20-21 but postponed the event to August.

“As everyone is aware, our head coaches and student-athletes have not been able to collectively engage in organized team functions since athletics activities were suspended in March," Bowlsby said in a release. "We felt it was prudent to give coaches a chance to re-acclimate with their teams prior to participating in our annual season preview event."

• Quotable: Lee Fitting, ESPN's senior vice president of production, spoke with the Associated Press on what the network’s “College GameDay” show will look like in 2020.

“Frankly, it could be different every week what it looks like,” Fitting said to the AP. “It could be potentially on the sidelines of an early game. It could be on the concourse in a stadium. It could even still be on campus. Will there be thousands of fans behind our set screaming like we’ve known it the last however many years? Absolutely not.”

Joe Buettner


Follow me @ByJoeBuettner

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