The Southeastern Convention, a domineering juggernaut of school soccer, stated Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic had compelled it to postpone two extra video games this weekend, together with the annual matchup between Alabama, which is ranked No. 1, and Louisiana State.
No. 5 Texas A&M’s sport at Tennessee was additionally postponed on Tuesday, someday after the SEC delayed No. 24 Auburn’s journey to Mississippi State. Taken collectively alongside the swell of virus instances across the nation, the postponements have been piercing reminders that the season could possibly be derailed one week at a time.
“Whereas it’s unlucky to have a number of postponements in the identical week, we started the season with the understanding interruptions to the schedule have been attainable and we now have remained targeted all through the season on the well being of everybody round our packages,” Greg Sankey, the league’s commissioner, stated in an announcement on Tuesday.
“We should stay vigilant, inside our packages and in our communities, to stop the unfold of the virus and to handle actions that contribute to those interruptions,” he stated.
Officers stated the video games have been postponed as a result of optimistic checks for the virus and phone tracing guidelines had left L.S.U., Mississippi State and Texas A&M short-handed as soon as different accidents have been thought of. Solely Texas A&M publicly detailed the scope of its virus troubles, with its athletic director, Ross Bjork, saying there have been “three lively instances inside our soccer program.”
“Initially is the well being and security of our gamers in our soccer program,” Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M’s coach, stated in an announcement. “I’d by no means jeopardize their well-being and we are going to proceed to observe all protocols.”
The SEC started a conference-only schedule on Sept. 26, and for the primary a number of weeks, it navigated the pandemic with out substantial interruptions. The primary vital troubles emerged in mid-October, when the league postponed two video games and Nick Saban, Alabama’s coach, examined optimistic for the virus and almost missed the Crimson Tide’s sport in opposition to Georgia. (Saban’s check consequence was finally proven to be a false optimistic.)
However these first postponements are reshaping the schedule now. L.S.U.’s October sport at Florida was amongst these rescheduled to Dec. 12, which has been the touchdown spot for delayed SEC video games, after Florida had an outbreak inside its soccer program.
With L.S.U. now in want of a date to play Alabama, a matchup that has lengthy drawn huge tv scores and, final 12 months, even President Trump, the choices are scarce. In its assertion on Tuesday, the convention stated the rescheduling of the Tigers’ sport with Alabama would “have to be evaluated.” Within the very subsequent sentence, the league stated its rescheduling technique “might embrace” Dec. 19 — for now, the date of the convention championship sport in Atlanta.
It didn’t elaborate.
Nationwide, greater than 4 dozen video games involving Soccer Bowl Subdivision groups, the game’s most outstanding and profitable tier, have been postponed or canceled this season for virus-related causes.