For the first time in over a century, South Carolina and Clemson will not face each other in football for the annual Palmetto Bowl.
A day after the Atlantic Coast Conference announced a league-only schedule for the 2020 season, the Southeastern Conference followed suit. On Thursday, the SEC announced Sept. 26 as the new kickoff for its 2020 football season.
This is to allow its universities to focus on the healthy return of their campus communities and the gradual re-introduction of athletics, as the 14 members of the SEC continue to monitor developments related to COVID-19, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said.
The SEC football championship game was also moved back from Dec. 5 to Dec. 19. The schedule will include 2 open dates - during the mid-season and Dec. 12.
"This new plan for a football schedule is consistent with the educational goals of our universities to allow for the safe and orderly return to campus of their student populations and to provide a healthy learning environment during these unique circumstances presented by the COVID-19 virus," Sankey said. "This new schedule supports the safety measures that are being taken by each of our institutions to ensure the health of our campus communities."
This action was taken following extensive discussions and thorough deliberation among the SEC's Presidents and Chancellors, Athletics Directors, Conference Office staff, and medical advisors, led by the SEC's Return to Activity and Medical Guidance Task Force.
"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.
"We believe these schedule adjustments offer the best opportunity to complete a full season by giving us the ability to adapt to the fluid nature of the virus and the flexibility to adjust schedules as necessary if disruptions occur," Sankey said. "It is regrettable that some of our traditional non-conference rivalries cannot take place in 2020 under this plan, but these are unique, and hopefully temporary, circumstances that call for unconventional measures."
On Wednesday, the ACC Board of Directors announced that if public health guidance allows, all 7 ACC sponsored fall sports will begin competition during the week of Sept. 7-12.
“As we look ahead to the fall, the safety of our students, staff and overall campus community continues to be our top priority,” said Kent Syverud, Chancellor of Syracuse University and the Chair of the ACC Board of Directors. “Today’s announcement outlines a specific path for ACC fall sports to return to intercollegiate athletic competition using comprehensive protocols put forward by our ACC Medical Advisory Group. As a league, we understand the need to stay flexible and be prepared to adjust as medical information evolves in conjunction with local and state health guidelines.”
“Today’s decision was made after months of thoughtful planning by numerous individuals throughout the conference,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “The Board’s decision presents a path, if public health guidance allows, to move forward with competition. Our institutions are committed to taking the necessary measures to facilitate the return in a safe and responsible manner. We recognize that we may need to be nimble and make adjustments in the future. We will be as prepared as possible should that need arise.”
The South Carolina-Clemson rivalry dates back to 1896. It has gone uninterrupted since 1909, a span of 109 consecutive games, and is the 2nd longest streak behind Wisconsin and Minnesota which has run uninterrupted for 113 consecutive games dating back to 1907.
The Tigers hold a 71-42-4 advantage and have won the last 6 meetings. The contest was originally slated for Nov. 28 at Death Valley in Clemson.