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SEC caught off guard by Big Ten’s big announcement; will discuss plans Monday

The SEC is sticking to their timeline, for now.


As you have probably heard, the Big Ten has decided that all fall sports will play only play against in-conference opponents, largely due to the impact of the coronavirus. There are reports that the ACC and PAC-12 will follow suit. Many were surprised not only by the content of this announcement, but also the timing. Some of those surprised individuals apparently work for the SEC.

According to John Talty of, many around the Southeastern Conference were caught off guard by the announcement. The SEC had set a timeline of making a decision about fall sports in late-July, and apparently many thought other conferences were committed to a similar timeline.

“In talking to sources throughout the conference in the aftermath of the Big Ten’s decision, there was a sense of surprise and disappointment that the Big Ten decided on July 9 to move to a conference-only schedule,” Talty wrote.

Power 5 conferences speak daily on conference calls about the issues everyone is facing. So for SEC officials to be surprised by this announcement means the Big Ten may not have been forthcoming with their plans. You could certainly speculate as to the reasons for that. Actually, I think that is why Twitter was invented.

Now, SEC officials will meet on Monday to continue their discussion on fall plans, according to Sports Illustrated. You would have to expect that the decisions by these other conferences will accelerate the SEC’s decision-making, or perhaps option-creating, processes.

But for now, this was a previously-planned meeting that is being used for idea gathering, and no final decisions on fall sports are expected.

The meeting has been planned for at least two weeks, SEC sources told SI, and was not in reaction to virus-related shutdown news Thursday across college football. The aim is for commissioner Greg Sankey to gather candid, in-person feedback from each athletic director about how they believe the conference should proceed with fall sports—especially football. Significant decisions are not expected from the meeting. An SEC spokesman declined comment Thursday.

Also, I realize that many conferences are loosely geographically aligned. But can someone explain to me why it is a better situation for West Virginia to play at Oklahoma State than for Kentucky to play Louisville? I’m asking for a few hundred thousand fans.