SEC presidents and chancellors this week approved Dec. 19, which is the day of the SEC championship game, as a makeup date for other games that have been postponed this season because of COVID-19, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced Friday.
As the SEC continues to navigate its way through a tumultuous week during which four games were postponed in a span of three days, the league's presidents and chancellors met on Thursday in a regularly-scheduled meeting to discuss the Dec. 19 option. On Tuesday, all 14 SEC athletic directors agreed that date should be used to provide the conference more flexibility as the virus continues to disrupt the season.
At this point, it appears adding Dec. 19 as an option is necessary if the league is going to play all 70 games this season. Forty have already been played, and it's too early to tell what matchups would be rescheduled for the final day before the College Football Playoff selection committee announces its final ranking of the season on Dec. 20.
"It has been a goal of the SEC to play a complete football schedule provided we maintain a healthy environment for student-athletes and everyone around our football programs," Sankey said in a statement. "The added flexibility of a December 19 playing date for teams that do not qualify for the SEC Football Championship and the ability to adjust opponents on five-day notification provide a greater opportunity for our schools to play a full schedule of games in 2020."
The SEC doesn't currently have a window for the LSU-Alabama game, which was postponed this week. With Alabama currently in first place in the West and the leading candidate to play in the Dec. 19 championship game, it doesn't make sense to move the game to Dec. 19 right now.
As part of the SEC's announcement Friday, teams with games changed and no COVID-19 issues can play each other, but the deadline to determine that is 9 a.m. ET Monday before the game. The games subject to rescheduling would only be those on a team's original schedule and against opponents that a team has not yet played.