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Georgia football helmets on the sidelines during the G-Day spring scrimmage at Sanford Stadium on April 16, 2016 in Athens, Ga. (Photo/Thomas Mills)

While Georgia's 2020 football season still hangs in the balance, athletes weary of competing amid the untamed spread of COVID-19 will have the option to forgo their fall seasons and maintain their scholarships, according to a Friday statement by the SEC.

The conference's decision comes one week after the Big 10 offered the same choice to its student-athletes. 

"SEC student-athletes have frequently expressed their desire to compete, but it is important for student-athletes and their families to know the financial support committed to them by their institutions will not be at risk because of health concerns presented by the current pandemic," SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said in the statement.

According to the announcement, SEC athletic directors first floated the idea, and SEC chancellors and presidents unanimously voted in its favor. 

The conference has not implemented other measures, such as a conference-only fall schedule in line with the Big 10, except for its decision to delay the start of the soccer, volleyball and cross country seasons to Aug. 31.

Following the meeting of SEC athletic directors on July 13, the SEC adopted a wait-and-see approach, deferring its decision on football to later this month. 

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