AAC announces plan for Fall 2020 athletics competition

AAC announces plan for Fall 2020 athletics competition
Mike Norvell hoists the AAC Championship trophy after Memphis beats Cincinnati in the title game Dec. 7, 2019. (Source: WMC)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The American Athletic Conference Board of Directors announced the timeline and plan for Fall 2020 athletics.

According to a news released from the AAC, the plan calls for regular-season intraconference competition in football, men’s soccer, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball, capped by conference championship events in those sports, as well as men’s and women’s cross country.

Football

The conference competition will begin on September 16. Each team will play eight conference games on their originally scheduled dates. Any non-conference games can be played at the discretion of the individual schools. However, schools must strictly follow the protocols and standards for testing, pregame, in-game and postgame operations set by The American’s Medical Advisory Group. The American Football Championship is tentatively scheduled for December 5, 12 or 19 at the stadium of the regular-season champion. The decision for the date of the championship game will be made no earlier than November 1.

Cross County

Schools can start regular-season cross country competitions at their discretion on or after September 1. The AAC said the American Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Championships are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 31, at 4 Mile Creek Resort in Augusta, Kansas.

Men’s Soccer

Soccer teams will play a 10-match double-round-robin schedule of conference matches. Conference matches will be played on Saturdays, beginning September 5. Matches could be moved to Friday or Sunday if a conflict with a home football game exists. The AAC said midweek matches against non-conference opponents may be scheduled on or after September 1 only if the opponent meets the standards and testing guidelines set by The American’s Medical Advisory Group. However, matches cannot be scheduled if a school would have to utilize air travel and/or an overnight hotel stay. The four-team 2020 American Men’s Soccer Championship will be held November 12 and 14 or November 13 and 15 at the site of the No. 1 seed based on regular-season standings. If the No. 1 seed cannot host due to travel restrictions, or state/local regulations, the campus of the next-highest seed will host.

Women’s Soccer

Women’s soccer teams will play an eight-match single-round-robin schedule of conference matches. Conference matches will be played on Sundays, beginning September 6. Midweek matches against non-conference opponents may be scheduled on or after September 1 only if the opponent meets the standards and testing guidelines set by The American’s Medical Advisory Group. However, midweek matches will not be allowed if schools have to utilize air travel and/or an overnight hotel stay. The four-team 2020 American Women’s Soccer Championship will be held November 6 and 8 at the site of the No. 1 seed based on regular-season standings. If the No. 1 seed cannot host due to travel restrictions, or state/local regulations, the campus of the next-highest seed will host.

Women’s Volleyball

This season will feature a two-division format in which each team will play the other teams in its division twice at the same site. The East Division will consist of UCF, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Temple and USF. The West Division will include Houston, Memphis, SMU, Tulane, Tulsa and Wichita State. The AAC said conference play will begin during the Sept. 24-27 weekend and will conclude the weekend of November 12-15. Matches can be scheduled between Thursday and Sunday. Three weekends will be available for nonconference opportunities, on or after Sept. 1. The 2020 American Women’s Volleyball Championship will be held November 21-22 at Fifth Third Arena on the campus of the University of Cincinnati. The top two teams from each division, based on regular-season standings, will qualify for the championship.

Decisions for Fall 2020 baseball, softball, women’s lacrosse, women’s rowing, men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s tennis will be announced at a later date. Decisions for potential modifications to winter sports, such as basketball, swimming and diving, indoor track and field, will also be announced at a later date.

Laird Veatch, the University of Memphis Athletic Director released a statement:

"I want to first say thank you to our fans, donors, sponsors and campus community for their support as we work through the challenges of returning to play in our fall sports, including football. Your unwavering support of our Memphis programs is greatly appreciated.

Following the AAC’s announcement today regarding fall sports schedules, this is confirmation of our 2020 football schedule. Other sports schedules will be released soon.

Our staff has been working tirelessly with health, City and stadium officials to develop plans for socially distanced fan attendance at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, with an emphasis on safety for everyone in the facility. Information will be released Thursday that gives our season ticket holders options as it relates to their own personal circumstances. We will continue to be transparent and communicate as plans evolve.

We are very excited about the prospect of starting our season against Arkansas State at home on Saturday, September 5!

Go Tigers Go!

Copyright 2020 WMC. All rights reserved.