SEC outlines conditions for potential football cancellations

An inability to isolate positive cases or conduct proper testing and contact tracing could lead to game postponements or cancellations throughout the SEC.

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Hunter Long

Dayo Odeyingbo after making a tackle against the University of Tennessee in 2019. (Hustler Multimedia/Hunter Long)

Alyssa Muir, Deputy Sports Editor

On Sept. 9, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) updated its requirements for managing COVID-19 during the fall sports season. 

The document highlighted various “game discontinuation considerations” that could potentially lead to the cancellation of fall sports games, including football. These considerations are: the inability to isolate new positive cases, the inability to perform adequate testing or contact tracing, campus or community positivity rates that are deemed unsafe by local officials and a lack of necessary hospital infrastructure to accommodate a large uptick in hospitalizations. 

The task force labeled football as a “high risk” sport, along with basketball, soccer and volleyball. 

Football programs must have at least 53 players available to play in every game, or there is a possibility that the game could be rescheduled or canceled. Additionally, the SEC has mandated that each team has at least seven offensive lineman (and one center), four defensive lineman and one quarterback. 

Teams are required to undergo testing on Sundays and Wednesdays before Saturday games. The SEC is also considering a possible third test closer to gameday. Additionally, the league will limit travel rosters to 70 players. 

All infected players must quarantine for 10 days. All exposed players must undergo a 14-day quarantine, even if they test negative. Upon return to the field after quarantine, players will receive a cardiac evaluation and must be cleared by doctors. 

Everyone on the sideline, including players and officials, will be required to wear masks and social distance as much as possible. Players on the field must wear neck gaiters that can cover their mouths and noses during stoppages of play.

The SEC kicks off its football season on Saturday, Sep. 26. Vanderbilt will face Texas A&M on the road at 6:30 p.m. CT.