SEC sets start dates, guidelines for fall sports

By: Scottie Bordelon
Published: Thursday, August 27, 2020
A soccer ball sits on the field prior to a game between Arkansas and Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Fayetteville.
Photo by David Beach
A soccer ball sits on the field prior to a game between Arkansas and Georgia on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, in Fayetteville.

— The Southeastern Conference announced Thursday it has set new start dates and guidelines for fall sports cross country, soccer and volleyball, as well as sports with out-of-season competition in the fall.

All SEC competition has been on hiatus through at least the end of August. The cross country, soccer and volleyball seasons are ordinarily scheduled to begin this month.

The men’s and women’s cross country seasons can begin as early as Sept. 11 and are scheduled to end with the SEC Cross Country Championships in Baton Rouge, La., on Oct. 23. Teams will be allowed to compete in a minimum of two events and a maximum of three prior to the conference meet.

Arkansas' women have won six consecutive SEC cross country meets and the Razorbacks' men's team is a perennial favorite in the conference.

Cross country will not be permitted to compete in consecutive weeks. They will be allowed to compete against nonconference opponents if those teams adhere to the SEC’s covid-19 testing protocols. No more than 10 teams can compete in a single race.

The SEC soccer season is scheduled to begin Sept. 18 and will include eight conference games — six against division opponents and two against non-division opponents — in the regular season. Teams typically play 10 conference games.

All 14 teams will be guaranteed at least two additional games at the conference tournament in Orange Beach, Ala., beginning Nov. 13.

Arkansas won the regular-season soccer championship last season and has finished runner-up at the SEC Tournament four consecutive years.

The volleyball season will consist of an eight-match, conference-only schedule over six weeks beginning Oct. 16. Each school will compete against four opponents twice in the same weekend on back-to-back days.

Teams in spring sports golf and tennis can compete in up to three team events beginning no earlier than Oct. 1. They will be limited to events involving only SEC schools or nonconference opponents from a school’s geographic region.

The SEC also announced fall practices and intrasquad scrimmages will be allowed in spring sports baseball and softball, but exhibitions against outside competition is prohibited for the fall semester.

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