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SEC orders schools to cancel spring football games

Bryant-Denny Stadium during an Alabama football game.

Auburn Athletics Director Allen Greene announced Tuesday that Auburn University has had to cancel it’s annual A-Day football scrimmage after the SEC ordered all spring athletic activities shut down.

This includes not only spring football games, but also pro-days, and spring football.

“I love living in Auburn. Christy and I always enjoy having the kids home from school,” Greene wrote in an email to Auburn Athletics supporters. “But this week, we’d rather be in Tampa. Or Spokane. Or Cleveland, or wherever Coach Pearl and the Auburn Tigers would have been competing in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, the courts are silent. Plainsman Park and Jane B. Moore Field sit empty. Instead of watching Derrian Gobourne seek to defend her NCAA gymnastics championship on vault, or watching Coach Williams’ equestrian team try to complete a second straight perfect season, the competitions are on pause. No rise balls. No aces. No birdies. No personal bests. No nothin’!”

UAB had previously canceled their spring football game. The University of Alabama also had to cancel its A-day game and spring practices.

“We’re all adding new terms and hashtags to our vocabularies. Social distancing. Flatten the curve. #StayHome #ShelterInPlace,” Greene continued. “The Southeastern Conference’s announcement earlier today that all remaining spring athletic competitions have been canceled is the latest development related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Unfortunately, we will be unable to have our A-Day game or watch our spring sport athletes compete. My heart hurts for our student-athletes. Their passion for sport is inspiring. They want to practice. They want to play. They’re champions. That’s part of their fabric.”

The Crimson Tide’s Pro Day was scheduled for April 9, but that also has been canceled due to the SEC orders over coronavirus fears.

“Our primary responsibility is their health and well-being, and the health of our global community,” Greene stated. “What were once considered draconian decisions gave way to understanding that these painful steps are necessary to protect our student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans.”

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“At this time, we have more questions than answers,” Greene said. “When will athletic activities resume? Will our seniors be able to return next season if they choose? What might that mean to roster management and scholarship limitations? What impact does this have on finances? Simply put, we don’t know. Rest assured that all of us in intercollegiate athletics will put our heads together as we determine the most appropriate paths.”

The government is requesting that there be no meetings with more than ten people involved in making football activities too risky for the student-athletes involved.

“Sport will come back and fill our hearts again,” Greene concluded. “To the Auburn family, thank you. Thank you for your understanding as this situation rapidly evolves. We appreciate your unwavering commitment. When the venues reopen and the games return, I’ll be there to greet you, to personally thank you for your love of Auburn, and your commitment never to yield, no matter the opposition.”

There is media speculation that teams will ask the NCAA for permission to add a week to fall camp. There is also speculation that the NCAA may suspend spring and summer recruiting visits in order to keep from spreading the COVID-19 virus.

“This is a difficult day for all of us, and I am especially disappointed for our student-athletes,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey in a statement. “The health and well-being of our entire conference community is an ongoing priority for the SEC as we continue to monitor developments and information about the COVID-19 virus.”


Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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