“There are crazy times.”

There is so much to unpack from this deep dive into what Sankey and the 14 SEC ADs discussed Monday.  A few choice quotes:

  • “Barring a full, 12-game schedule, three models emerged as strong possibilities with league power brokers: an eight-game conference-only schedule and a nine or 10-game plan that would preserve at least one scheduled matchup with a Power 5 conference program.”
  • “The SEC has already lost two Power 5 games with the Pac-12’s decision to hold a conference-only season: Alabama-USC and Texas A&M-Colorado. The league is attempting to preserve its remaining 13 Power 5 conference games, including the aforementioned four Sept. 12 games and most notably the four traditional rivalries with the ACC: Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State, South Carolina-Clemson and Kentucky-Louisville. The other five games are Arkansas-Notre Dame, Georgia-Virginia, Ole Miss-Baylor, Missouri-BYU and Vanderbilt-Kansas State.”
  • “Despite rising case numbers nationwide, with many hotspots in the SEC’s 11-state footprint, the consensus among administrators is that their communities and athletes are strongly in favor of playing football this fall.”
  • “In a 10-game all-SEC slate, teams would keep their scheduled eight conference games while adding two more teams from the opposite division. In this scenario, an SEC team would play all but three of its conference members. One athletic director described this plan as laughable. Even a nine-game conference-only schedule is getting pushback from league administrators, the AD says.”
  • “Some SEC decision-makers question the logic of a conference-only schedule. A few conference games call for long, expensive trips – such as South Carolina-Texas A&M and Florida-Missouri – while several non-conference, non-Power 5 affairs are regionalized. Auburn has a game with Southern Miss, and Mississippi State hosts Alabama A&M. South Carolina has both East Carolina and Coastal Carolina on its schedule, and Texas A&M plays North Texas.”
  • “Meanwhile, many SEC leaders are vehemently against a spring season, describing it as a “last resort” and a “fallback measure” that poses a range of issues…”

Not exactly an emerging consensus there.  Instead, it sounds like a struggle between money and player safety.  As for which wins out…

Many of these contingency models call for the elimination of games against Group of 5 and FCS teams. These are often referred to as “buy games” because SEC teams pay steep prices—sometimes as much as $1.5 million a game—to their traveling competitors. In fact, SEC teams in 2017 paid out more than $45 million in buy games, according to school NCAA reports obtained by SI. This year, Georgia is the only SEC school with two Power 5 programs on its schedule. All other teams play three games against Group of 5 or FCS squads. SEC teams could owe millions to those smaller clubs for cancellations. However, there is a potential out. In at least some game contracts, a change in “league scheduling format” could free an SEC team from its contractual responsibility, several administrators told SI.

That legal language still could meet opposition from snubbed Group of 5 and FCS opponents if the SEC does move ahead with any non-conference games. If the league can play Power 5 opponents, the thinking goes, why can’t it play the others? Or at least honor the payout written into the game contract? From the standpoint of avoiding legal battles over millions in guarantees for games that don’t happen, the SEC might be better off with no non-conference games at all.

There you go — Georgia shedding its rivalry game with Tech in order to have a defense to being sued by ETSU for its guarantee is about as good a summary of 2020 as you can imagine.


Filed under It's Just Bidness, SEC Football

21 responses to ““There are crazy times.”

  1. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    This whole affair seems so greasy and mafia-oso, just like a turd in the punch bowl.


  2. I’ve been waiting to hear about those paid to win games! Knew something would have to go down.

    I dont get the “travel is expensive” thing. I mean, it’s the SEC that put college station in the league. And the college’s fly so much, other than a little difference in gas, once you board the plane, it’s pretty much the same.


  3. David K

    They’re going to play this just like the schools and jump in head first and deal with the consequences after the fact. Schools are going to open and a week or two into the year kids will be sent home. Not sure if we’ll make it to the first game of the season or not. Depends on if there are outbreaks during fall practice. But they’re going to move forward like there’s a season and hope for the best.


  4. Wonder when the pac 12 just folds the year up altogether.


  5. Gaskilldawg

    Appears Sankey is lacking in leadership. The time to discuss varsity models is over. A leader would have gotten enough schools on board with a plan so that the conference could move forward.
    The plan to increase each SEC team to 9 SEC or 10 SEC games makes send from a management of protocols point of view but it guarantees the SEC 7 or 14 more losses so half the league is selfish.


  6. Gaskilldawg

    Damn, the second sentence is supposed to be, “The time to discuss various models is over.”


  7. UGA '97

    Wouldnt ACC be in same predicament cancelling non conference games? i.e tech drop uga to avoid their lawsuit…game is in Athens, so who breaks the news first?


  8. 79Dawg

    The resistance to 9 or 10 conference games, even in exceptional times, is pathetic – really what is the point of playing the game (much less being in a conference with another team) if you are so scared of what the consequences of losing another game might be…


  9. Malcolm X

    Here’s the nightmare scenario. Start football, everything fine. Then early October a few positive tests. Then late October season cancelled because too many players have to quarantine. And what if someone dies? The place will go insane.


  10. Paul

    It’s increasingly clear that the governors of Georgia and Florida will put exactly zero restrictions on games being played. So, that leaves it up to the conferences, as the NCAA is nothing more than the court eunuch. Given what we’re seeing here it appears the SEC will move forward with a ‘you pays your money and you takes your chances,’ approach. I wonder if they will require patrons to sign a COVID waiver? Even Trump did that in Tulsa. Me, I’ll be sitting in section 65”.


    • 79Dawg

      Is the gathering ban on more than 50 people where they can’t stay 6 feet apart, which remains in place, “zero restrictions”??? Gonna be tough to play games with packed stands with those requirements…


      • Paul

        Just wait. We haven’t got to football season yet. Those restrictions will be lifted ‘based on the data.’


  11. Skeptic Dawg

    I was driving with my so to a lacrosse tournament last Saturday and to catch Greg Sankey’s interview live on ESPN radio. He came across across as well prepared, informed and full of leadership. I am not sure what his actually position/role is while dealing with leadership from the 14 SEC schools, nor do I know who the real SEC “power brokers” are. That being said, Sankey needs to make a decision and actually inform the AD’s and coaches as to what is going to happen this Fall and how it will go down. My best guess is that he knows what the outcome will be, in this case they will not play football this Fall, so he can afford to kick the can down the road and wait until his hand is forced to make this announcement. Money is why there is no official decision. We have no idea what was truly said in this meeting, only what we are being told was said. So some AD’s float hope of 8, 9, or 10 game schedule for fans, and the tuition paying students that have yet to arrive on campus.


  12. I’m not Vegas (obviously), but I put the over/under on # of games the average SEC team plays this calendar year at 3.5.

    8? 9? 10? They’ll never even get to 8 before they have to fold things up.


  13. Ken Wilkinson

    Act of God with the surgical strike. I’m not a lawyer, but with teams still traveling 700+ miles and still playing 8-10 games, sounds like a pretty weak force majeure. Force minor?


  14. 69Dawg

    All the rivalry games are basically between state schools. Maybe the governors of the states could just order them to play. Stranger things have happened in 2020.


  15. Brandon M

    If all the players would just wear masks under their facemasks, we wouldn’t have anything to worry about. Amirite?


  16. BuffaloSpringfield

    For What it’s Worth:
    Courson is a great S/C guy. I am sure he has a great supportive cast. If you have ever run 20yd, 30yd. 40yd and 50 yd gassers at the end of a 96 degree, 99.9% humidity practice and wondered if you were gonna throw your toenails up along with everything in you and wished you had a protective mask and a plastic face shield that could throw it right back in your face.
    Several UGA players have even experienced this while on national TV on a nice sunny Athens afternoon In September.
    Perhaps since we are gonna have limited attendance games could be played in the practice facilities. Kind of like SEC Arena Football. We as in everyone, including myself has lost the power of reasoning due to circumstances beyond our control. Unfortunately most Conference Commissioners and AD’s have the same vision of our WHO, CDC, Governors, Senators, Representatives and President. Unprecedentedly, We are throwing shit on the wall to see which theory’s and schedules stick before sliding off into infinity and beyond.
    Or to be more blunt vomit off a face shield.