SAC announces return to play plan for Fall 2020

SAC Communications
Rick Tortorelli

Sooner Athletic Conference Presidents met via videoconference Thursday afternoon and affirmed a plan to proceed with practices and intercollegiate competition this fall, with the group agreeing to implement the following changes for the upcoming 2020 fall sports seasons:

• Football – The conference will build a new schedule, and SAC teams will be provided three games this fall and six games in the spring. It should be noted Langston University, Lyon College and Texas College have opted out of fall competition. The games scheduled for this fall will not count toward SAC standings, leaving the six spring games to determine the SAC champion. The conference-scheduled fall games will begin no earlier than Thursday, Oct. 15. Playing dates for the spring schedule will be determined after NAIAchampionship dates become known

• Cross Country – SAC Presidents authorized maintaining Saturday, Nov. 7 as the date of the SAC championships meet with a final determination to come after athletic directors and head coaches have weighed alternate options. The SAC does not provide a cross country schedule beyond the conference meet.

• Soccer – The conference will build a new schedule, and SAC teams will be provided five games in the fall before playing a nine-game, single round-robin schedule in the spring. The games scheduled for this fall will not count toward SAC standings, leaving the nine spring games to determine the SAC regular-season champion and tournament seeding. The conference-scheduled fall games will begin no earlier than Thursday, Oct. 15. Playing dates for the spring schedule will be determined after NAIA championship dates become known.

• Volleyball – The conference will build a new schedule, and SAC teams will be provided up to five games in the fall before playing a 10-game, single round-robin schedule in the spring. It should be noted Langston University has opted out of fall competition. The games scheduled for this fall will not count toward SAC standings, leaving the 10 spring games to determine the SAC regular-season champion and tournament seeding. The conference-scheduled fall games will begin no earlier than Thursday, Oct. 15. Playing dates for the spring schedule will be determined after NAIA championship dates become known.

This action follows recent decisions by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Council of Presidents to postpone fall national championships to spring.

The NAIA intends by Aug. 21 to provide details of qualifying and championship dates in cross country, football, soccer and volleyball, which will allow the SAC to complete spring schedules and conference tournament plans.

SAC teams will be subject to NAIA guidance as far as conducting practice and non-conference competition. Current guidance permits NAIA teams to begin practice on Aug. 15. Contests against outside competition may begin Sept. 5 in all sports but football, which may begin competing Sept. 12.

Decisions are forthcoming from both the NAIA and SAC relative to winter sports seasons, including basketball and wrestling.