COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - South Carolina State provided a road map to play spring football. The MEAC announces if conditions surrounding COVID-19 improve, they’ll kick the season off on February 27th, 2021.
“That’s exciting in itself,” said SC State Athletics Director Stacy Danley.
The Bulldogs leader, head coach Buddy Pough, shared that enthusiasm with Danley on a phone call shortly after the news broke.
“He was very excited,” said Danley. “Very excited for the players and the coaches to have an opportunity to look forward to something. Have a target date they can plan for.”
The buzz in the Bulldogs camp is genuine. The league will create two divisions and a six-game league schedule. SC State was placed in the loaded South Division alongside Bethune-Cookman and North Carolina A&T. For the first time in league history, they will hold a title game. It’s slated for May 1st, 2021.
SC State will bring its students back on September 19th. Right now, the Bulldogs are only allowed to hold voluntary workouts. Danley expects the NCAA to provide practice guidance beyond voluntary workouts for the fall semester by next week.
There have been some vocal critics nationally about potentially playing two seasons next year, one in the spring and the other that fall. Danley tells me student-athlete safety remains the driving force behind all decisions during this pandemic.
“There’s no blueprint for this,” said Danley. “There’s no playbook. If we are faced with another pandemic 10 or 20 years from now, we will have a playbook. Right now, we don’t. When we make these decisions, I promise you we make them with the health and safety of our student-athletes in mind, as well as our fans, and coaching staff, and the entire community. There’s still a lot of unknowns. But, I just feel like that will give us the best chance to do it in the safest manner.”
Danley adds the league will be watching how other conferences operate this fall to help create a blueprint on how to play safely amid a pandemic.
“We are going to learn a lot,” said Danley. “Pay very close attention to the SEC, BIG 12, and ACC, and those schools that are going to be competing. We expect to learn a lot from that whole process.”