American Athletic Conference approves 8 + 4 schedule for 2020


The American Athletic Conference has approved an eight-game league schedule for football, with the ability to play up to four non-conference games.The AAC said in a statement on Wednesday that it would play its eight-game conference roster as originally scheduled, with league play scheduled to begin on September 19. Non-conference matches may be scheduled prior to the start of league play; this is at the discretion of each school.

“With the guidance of the health experts of the COVID-19 Medical Advisory Committee and thanks to the hard work of the athletic staff at our schools and at the conference, we have a sound direction for the return of intercollegiate athletics in the fall. Said David Rudd, President of the University of Memphis and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the AAC.

“The safety of our students, staff and campus communities will remain our top priority. We are confident that the protocols developed by our Medical Advisory Group will guide a safe return to play. As medical information evolves, we will update our plans in conjunction with national, state and local guidelines.

Commissioner Mike Aresco said in an interview on Tuesday that the league’s athletic directors are in favor of this planning model. It was approved on Wednesday morning.

Aresco told ESPN on Tuesday: “We’ve been looking at this for a while. I didn’t want to limit the number of non-conference games as that would indicate that we are not trying to play our schedule. ”

Aresco also said the league plans to play eight or 10 conference games, but sticking with eight league games was still the preference.

“We don’t really want to play 10 because that would really limit non-conference games,” Aresco said. “Non-conference games mean something to us. We felt we could potentially play some Power 5 teams, we could face some Group 5 teams that we want to test ourselves against, and we thought we could do it safely. ”

UCF athletic director Danny White said on a video call on Wednesday that he wanted to play a full 12-game schedule. The UCF has home games against North Carolina, FIU and Florida A&M and a road trip to Georgia Tech. White is optimistic about the Georgia Tech game, but he can’t move forward until the ACC makes a decision on their non-conference games. North Carolina would not be able to travel to play UCF because the ACC requires all non-conference games to be played in each team’s home state in the league.

Although the MEAC has canceled fall sports, White said Florida A&M has indicated they want to try to play the season as an independent. White remains hopeful that the game can be played on November 7. Because Power 5 Conferences made the decision to eliminate or greatly reduce non-conference games, Group of 5 programs, like UCF, are now struggling to set their own non-conference schedules.

“I wish we were more coordinated in college football, that we had better communication,” White said. “The past month has probably shown that we need to organize more nationally in college football. The lack of communication at all levels made it difficult for people to make decisions. If anything, I’m grateful that we’re finally at a place where we can start making decisions where we can figure this thing out. ”

Several US teams have either lost non-conference Power 5 games or are waiting to be informed of the status of others. The American wanted to wait to make a decision on his schedule until after the Power 5 conferences. The Big Ten, the Pac-12 and the SEC voted on the 10-game conference schedule. The ACC will play a 10-game conference schedule with a non-conference game, and the Big 12 will play a nine-game conference schedule with a non-conference game.

The Sun Belt also announced an eight-game league schedule and up to four non-conference games.

As ACC teams look to play their non-conference schedules, Aresco said there will be no travel restrictions. The ACC and the Big 12 require that non-conference parties take place in their home country. Like these two conferences, the American will demand that non-conference opponents adhere to the same testing and safety protocols they have in place.

“We charter, and we think it’s a fair way to do it as long as the protocols are in place,” Aresco said. “We urged our DAs to reach out to non-conference opponents to make sure the protocols are in place, and that there will be real integrity there. ”

Aresco said there was also some flexibility in when the conference championship game was played, but that would all depend on where the Navy placed in the table, as the Army-Navy match remains scheduled for the December 12.


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