Alabama coach Nick Saban, Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne and 20-plus Florida Gators players and coaches have contracted COVID-19, in addition to over 40 players and staff from Baylor University as the SEC and Big 12 plans are rocked by Coronavirus.
This is the first big outbreak of COVID-19 during the college football season, forcing both the SEC and the Big 12 to come up with alternatives to try and finish their 2020 seasons. Florida was scheduled to host LSU on Saturday, while Baylor was set to host the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Waco. Alabama is still expected to have their marquee matchup with Georgia this weekend, despite Saban getting the virus. He has coached from home during the week, and offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has taken over the coaching duties in practice.
The two outbreaks at Florida and Baylor illustrate how difficult it is to play a whole college football season without having a hiccup along the way during a pandemic. Florida played Texas A&M last week, and A&M reported no positive cases from their most recent round of testing. Baylor had a scheduled bye week.
Just after the game against A&M, Florida head coach Dan Mullen was asking for a full-capacity crowd at Florida Field for their game against LSU, after governor Ron DeSantis allowed the Miami Dolphins stadium to have full capacity for their next home game. Florida is scheduled to play Missouri on October 24 before having a bye week.
As of now, most SEC schools are allowing for 25 percent capacity in their stadiums. With some stadiums hovering around a 90,000 to 100,000 capacity, there are still a good amount of people attending the games. However, the SEC is cracking down on schools not following COVID-19 protocol, withholding a portion of revenue distributed by the conference.
It was never going to be a smooth ride from the beginning of December to the middle of January for college football. The key is if they can get it under control in time to preserve the remainder of the season and have a College Football Playoff that is true to form.
We hope this information on SEC and Big 12 plans are rocked by coronavirus is helpful to you.
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Jeffrey is a graduate from the University of North Texas and joined the Empower Brokerage marketing team in 2020. He is the social media manager for empower brokerage, in addition to writing blogs and doing various campaigns. LinkedIn profile