College football notebook: SEC sets conference-only schedule

The SEC adopted a plan to play a 10-game, conference-only football schedule beginning Sept. 26, the conference announced Thursday.

A conference-only approach had already been adopted by the Big Ten and Pac-12, while the ACC approved an 11-game schedule with the option of one non-conference game played in the team’s home state. The Big 12 does not yet have a formal schedule plan, but Oklahoma and Kansas have each scheduled games for Aug. 29.

The SEC’s plan will be different than each of the other Power 5 conferences with its late start, which is three weeks after the originally scheduled start and two weeks later than any of the other conferences.

The SEC championship game will be held in Atlanta on Dec. 19, two weeks later than initially scheduled and just 13 days before the College Football Playoff semifinals (Jan. 1).

–The NCAA will allow student-athletes in all sports to wear social justice statements on their uniforms.

The NCAA Playing Rules Oversight Panel said the decision will give players an opportunity “to express support and voice their opinions.”

The back of the uniform, where a player’s name is traditionally located, may feature names or words “intended to celebrate or memorialize people, events or other causes,” the panel said. The names/words can vary by team member. Patches worn on either the front or sleeve of the uniform may include nicknames, mascots or logos.

–An external review of the Iowa football program found evidence of racial and cultural bias but did not recommend the removal of longtime head coach Kirk Ferentz or athletic director Gary Barta.

The Husch Blackwell law firm released a 28-page report detailing the findings of its seven-week investigation into the Hawkeyes’ football culture. The firm interviewed 111 people, including 74 current and former players.

The report says many Black players had trouble adjusting to the “Iowa Way” and that they “were required to confirm to a ‘mold’ that appeared to be built around the stereotype of a clean-cut, White athlete from a Midwestern background.”