Alabama Athletics resume after months-long drought


CW / Hannah Saad

Robert Cortez, Contributing Writer

As the fall athletics season rapidly approaches, the question of whether college athletics should be played in 2020 looms even larger. The PAC-12 and Big Ten conferences decided to cancel fall sports and are looking to have those seasons potentially rescheduled to play in the spring. In contrast, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and athletic directors across the conference are optimistic and still planning for athletics to compete for this fall. 

“We know concerns remain,” Sankey said. “Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying. We support, educate and care for student-athletes every day and will continue to do so… every day.”  

Here’s a timeline of how Alabama Athletics has been affected and responded to COVID-19: 

March 12 – SEC suspended competition and activities through March 30, which canceled the men’s basketball and women’s gymnastics tournament championship. 

“We understand that this decision will be disappointing to our student-athletes and coaches who have been preparing all season to compete in this event as well as viewers at home,” Sankey said. 

March 13 – SEC suspended competition and activities through April 15.

March 17 – SEC announced the cancellation of the spring sports season.

“This is a difficult day for all of us, and I am especially disappointed for our student-athletes,” Sankey said. “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.”

April 2 – SEC announced that teams scheduled to host conference tournaments in 2020 will once again be allowed to host the tournament in 2021, which applies to women’s tennis and softball. 

May 1 – SEC announced that all in-person camps & coaches clinics would be suspended through July 31.

May 5 – SEC allowed in-person athletics activities to begin on June 8. 

“At this time, we are preparing to begin the fall sports season as currently scheduled, and this limited resumption of voluntary athletic activities on June 8 is an important initial step in that process,” Sankey said. 

July 14 – SEC announced that the sports of men’s and women’s cross country, soccer, and volleyball would be postponed through at least August 31. 

July 30 – SEC announced that football would only play conference games. The start date was pushed back to Sept. 26. 

“After careful consideration of the public health indicators in our region and following advice of our medical advisors, we have determined that this is the best course of action to prepare for a safe and healthy return to competition for SEC student-athletes, coaches and others associated with our sports programs,” Sankey said. 

August 4 – Women’s soccer returned back to practice. 

“It’s exciting to be back on the field,” head coach Wes Hart said. “I thought this day would never come and I’m glad it finally did.”

August 6 – Women’s volleyball returned back to practice.

August 7 – Kentucky and Missouri were added to the Crimson Tide’s SEC-only football schedule.

August 13 – Greg Byrne announced that Alabama football would be back to full practice beginning August 17. The NCAA announced the cancellation of fall sports championships, which affects women’s volleyball, women’s soccer and cross country. 

“Our soccer, volleyball and cross-country student-athletes are working hard to prepare for their seasons and they have been diligent in taking personal health precautions and following protocols around COVID-19,” Sankey said. “We will support them in every way possible as we evaluate the impact of these cancellations on their fall sports seasons.”

August 17– Alabama football’s 10-game conference-only schedule was released, and the team began fall camp. 

“I’ve been a guy who has wanted to play 10 SEC games for a long time,” head coach Nick Saban said.