Published: Monday, August 10, 2020
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson expressed support Monday for the Southeastern Conference to play football this fall.
Reports in recent days have suggested the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences were considering canceling the 2020 season. On Saturday, the Mid-American Conference became the first Football Bowl Subdivision league to cancel its fall season.
Hutchinson does not believe the SEC should do so for a number of reasons.
“There’s a lot of factors they have to look at,” he said. “I know they’ve been working from the University of Arkansas standpoint with our Department of Health. There’s an improved plan that we’re comfortable with in terms of the limitations on fans that are there and in terms of the athletes that are on the field.
“One, they have to be willing to do it and they want to do it. That’s why they went to get their scholarship and they want to play SEC ball. And then secondly, are the coaches prepared to do it? The coaches are not saying, ‘We need to back off from the season.’”
Hutchinson added that he believes student-athletes are currently “taking care of themselves” and adhering to covid-19 guidelines. There will be positive cases of coronavirus, but “you work through that and proceed on,” he continued.
“Every school in the SEC has a different experience, a different positivity rate in their state, different circumstances and requirements, so they all have to come together,” Hutchinson said. “I hope we have SEC football this year.
“I’m supportive of that and hope they move forward.”
Arkansas athletics director Hunter Yurachek and football coach Sam Pittman publicly supported playing the 2020 football season early Monday morning in separate posts on their Twitter accounts.
“The way our student-athletes have handled these uncertain times is incredible and our staff is so proud of them,” Pittman tweeted. “As the Head Coach of @RazorbackFB #WeWantToPlay.”
In an appearance on The Paul Finebaum Show on SEC Network on Monday, Yurachek said there is no need to rush into making decisions.
“We’re not going to panic because another Power 5 conference may be making a different decision,” he said.