NEW ORLEANS — The Sun Belt Conference will begin football play over Labor Day weekend as planned.
Stadium Network’s Brett McMurphy first reported that the conference would stick to its 12-game schedule on Monday, but the conference made it official with a released on statement on Tuesday morning.
The Sun Belt will play an eight-game conference schedule while allowing each member school the opportunity to play four non-conference games.
The statement reads as follows:
“After extensive discussions and careful deliberation among the Sun Belt Conference Presidents and Chancellors, Athletics Directors, SBC COVID-19 Advisory Panel, medical advisors, and other governance groups, the Sun Belt Conference announced today that its football season will begin over Labor Day weekend.
Sun Belt member institutions have focused since June on a safe return to athletic activities. We believe this timetable will allow for the healthy integration of the entire campus community for each Sun Belt member.
The 2020 Sun Belt Conference football season will be comprised of an 8-conference game schedule with an option for each member to add as many as four non-conference opponents, beginning with Week Zero. The Sun Belt will host a football championship game on December 5 between the East Division and West Division champions. If necessary, the date of the championship game may be adjusted.
The Sun Belt Conference will continue to monitor health trends across our communities. Sun Belt Presidents and Chancellors, Athletics Directors, the COVID-19 Advisory Panel, and medical advisors will continue to review data to ensure a safe return to activities and competition. Our data review will cross seven states and 12 counties and include, among other things, infection rates, hospitalization rates, local health directives, advancements in COVID-19 testing and campus, department and team health trends.
We will continue to provide updates on the league’s activities as the impact of the pandemic continues to evolve.”
That will allow the University of Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns to maintain its 12-game schedule. In addition to its eight conference games, UL was slated to play four non-conference games (Sept. 5 vs. McNeese State, Sept. 12 vs. Wyoming, Oct. 24 at New Mexico State and Nov. 21 at Missouri).
With the Southeastern Conference deciding to play a conference-only schedule for the 2020 season, UL will need to find an opponent for the date at Missouri.