Alabama Football: Friday is decision day for the 2020 SEC football season

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Alabama football and other SEC schools expect a green light Friday for players to return on June 1.

Alabama football fans will be happy on Friday. It is expected Presidents and Chancellors from the SEC schools will vote to allow players back to campus for training. The exact date could be as soon as June 1, or perhaps June 15. Even if unexpected resistance argues for a further delay, there is no expectation that delay would extend beyond July 1.

The NCAA greased the skids two days earlier, saying athletes could return to campus for ‘voluntary’ workouts.

Assuming the expected approval is given, it will likely be announced as a unanimous vote. Solidarity is important to not leave room for doubt about a 2020 college football season.

Neither the NCAA or the SEC will mandate an exact start date. Individual programs can choose to delay. Without unexpected pushback from student-athletes, no school will want to allow other programs a head start on the season.

Governors and state health officials can still establish activity guidelines. Some may be more restrictive than others.

Among the unknowns is what impact future acceleration of infections, in the general population, could force more restrictive controls. Some school ADs are suggesting the resources on campuses will provide a safer environment for the student-athletes.

SEC Commissioner, Greg Sankey has been clear that a relaxing of controls cannot mean ignoring medical realities.

"We will not determine the timeline, the virus will determine the timeline.We’re going to rely exactly on our public health officials, at the national levels, state levels, and around our campuses and communities, to guide us toward a return to what we have known as normal."

There is little doubt 2020 will include a college football season. The format may change. Schedules may need to be adjusted. Many Alabama football fans are anxious to learn if game attendance will be restricted.

This week, Ohio State, Athletic Director said the Horseshoe seating could be adjusted to safely allow 20,000 to 50,000 fans this fall.

"So could we implement the current CDC guidelines, state guidelines around physical distancing, mask requirements and all those types of things in an outdoor environment and have obviously significantly less fans than we are used to? I think it’s possible."

There has been no official word if the University of Alabama is considering such drastic action. Additionally, Athletic Director, Greg Byrne has not admitted a conference only schedule might occur. Instead he has said he is considering options if Southern Cal cannot play in week one.

No Alabama football fan believes Nick Saban will fail to adjust to any schedule and format changes. Even in these uncharted times, Nick Saban’s mindset is to have a carefully crafted plan for everything.

UPDATE: The vote on Friday approved re-starting voluntary workouts on campus, as soon as June 8, though individual schools have the option to choose a later date.

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Check back with Bama Hammer as we update this post with news on the vote’s outcome. Whatever is decided, hopefully there will also be news of how Alabama football will proceed.