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story.lead_photo.caption Attendees crowd the north endzone entrance during a tailgate before a Saturday, September 1, 2018 at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville. - Photo by Charlie Kaijo

The Southeastern Conference has announced it is moving to a 10-game conference-only football schedule this fall and pushing back the start of the season.

The season will begin Sept. 26, three weeks later than the previously scheduled start. A revised schedule for the 2020 season will be announced at a later date following approval by the conference's athletics directors.

The league’s championship game will be played Dec. 19.

“Throughout this process, we have worked collectively and diligently as a conference to pursue the opportunity for student-athletes to compete in their respective sports, while maintaining the health, safety and wellbeing of student-athletes, coaches, staff members and fans,” Arkansas Athletics Director Hunter Yurachek said in a release. “Overwhelmingly, our student-athletes at the University of Arkansas have indicated that they want an opportunity to compete. The thoughtful plan announced today by the SEC will allow us to push back the start of the football season, while also providing the ultimate flexibility to accommodate a 10-game conference schedule.

"There are still many details to be worked out, but this is a positive first step in allowing us to work toward a return to competition in a safe and appropriate manner.”

The decision comes after the SEC’s presidents and chancellors met virtually on Thursday, and one day after the Atlantic Coast Conference said it will allow its members to play 11 games in the upcoming season — 10 against conference opponents and one against a nonconference team.

Two conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-12, had already announced plans to play a conference-only football schedule.

The SEC’s announcement eliminates Arkansas’ scheduled nonconference games against Nevada on Sept. 5, at Notre Dame on Sept. 12, Charleston Southern on Oct. 3 and Louisiana-Monroe on Nov. 21.

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