UT Martin’s scheduled football game at Alabama on November 14 has been effectively canceled as news broke that the SEC announced it was going to a conference-only schedule this season.
On Thursday, SEC presidents and chancellors approved a 10-game conference only schedule for the fall that begins on September 26. The contest would have been the first meeting between the Skyhawks and Crimson Tide. The game contract called for UT Martin to receive a $500,000 guarantee payment.
“This news is regrettable but is a new reality,” Skyhawk athletic director Kurt McGuffin said. “Losing a game of this magnitude is not only a disappointment for our players and fans, but also a reflection of the associated financial implications.”
The SEC became the fourth Power 5 conference to adjust its schedule in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, joining the Big Ten, Pac-12 and ACC. The Big Ten and Pac-12 also made the move to a conference only schedule, while the ACC moved to play an 11-game schedule made up of 10 conference games and one non-conference contest.
McGuffin stated he is looking for an opponent to replace Alabama on the schedule in an ever-changing collegiate landscape. The Skyhawks are scheduled to open the season on September 3 against Southern Illinois.
“Right now, our top priority has been working with campus and local health officials to work through a plan to keep our student-athletes and staff safe,” McGuffin said. “The health and well-being of our student-athletes is always our primary concern. At the same time, we want to give our Skyhawks every opportunity possible to display their talents on the field. We hope that we can find a way to fill that hole.”