The Georgia football game with Virginia that was to open the 2020 season is off under the ACC football scheduling plan the league announced Wednesday.
It calls for all nonconference games to be played in the home state of ACC schools.
Georgia and Virginia were to meet on Sept. 7 in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity said the school had no plans to play the game in Virginia.
A Virginia spokesman referred a question about the game to organizers of the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game. They did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
It might not matter anyway. SI.com’s Ross Dellenger, citing multiple sources, reported that the SEC is moving closer to a 10-game conference schedule after athletic directors agreed to that on Wednesday.
Presidents and chancellors are meeting Thursday, but may not make a decision until next week.
McGarity declined comment.
Dennis Dodd of CBSSports.com later reported that the SEC is still considering two plus-one models that include one nonconference game along with a conference only schedule.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in a statement: “It is not appropriate to respond to anonymous sources and speculation. We continue our discussions focused on the return of fall sports, including football. We will announce any decisions at the appropriate time.”
Georgia’s other nonconference games are against state rival Georgia Tech, East Tennessee State and Louisiana-Monroe, all at home.
“We are awaiting SEC presidents vote,” Louisiana-Monroe athletic director Scott McDonald said via text. “We will see what happens following their vote.”
The ACC said its season now will begin the week of Sept. 7-12 and have 10 conference games and one nonconference game.
A Georgia Tech spokesman said it was still to be determined which nonconference opponent the Yellow Jackets will play.
Georgia was to have a $4.25 million payout for the Virginia game, but game organizer Gary Stokan said last week he anticipated reduced revenues due to limited fan attendance in the NFL stadium.
Virginia coach Bronco Mendenhall was asked about scheduling scenarios in a session with reporters Wednesday before the announcement.
“It appears to me that the numbers are going up, not down,” he said, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “It appears the crisis is gaining momentum, not losing momentum. It appears we’re struggling more, not less. So the number of games right now really isn’t as relevant to me.”
The University of Georgia has had 399 students, faculty and staff test positive for COVID-19 since March of more than 50,000, according to information posted to the school website on Tuesday.
Georgia is in the midst of its final phase of team activity before it is scheduled to begin preseason practices on Aug. 7.
That usually marks a significant step towards the start of the football season that includes the team hunkering down in a camp like setting, but there is nothing usual about the lead-up this time around.
The SEC will need to settle on a plan if Georgia is to start preseason practices a week from Friday, right?
“We all hope so,” McGarity said prior to the Wednesday meeting. “That would really help everyone to have more definition, but as we’ve always said it’s a fluid situation. We’ll just make the decisions as soon as we possibly can with the best medical information available.”
Georgia began the next phases of mandatory team activities last Friday of up to 20 hours a week–which includes up to six hours “walk-throughs,” and the use of a football–after the school received an NCAA waiver to move that and preseason practices up two days.
College football was to begin in earnest on the weekend of Sept. 5, after some week 0 games.
“If they move it back, if they change it, who cares?” LSU coach Ed Orgeron said during a virtual Baton Rouge Rotary Club meeting, according to CBS Sports.com .”If they call us at midnight we’re going to play in a pasture.”
While the SEC was expected to have a decision this week on scheduling, McGarity said there hasn’t been a hard deadline for the SEC, which allows for more flexibility.
SEC ADs met by Zoom on Tuesday and Wednesday and have another session scheduled Friday.
“We just continue to discuss the current situations during our calls,” McGarity said. “We’ll have to make a decision soon.”