SEC Commish Greg Sankey Concerned, "Running Out of Time" for College Football
The SEC Athletic Directors are set to meet Monday regarding the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the college football season, meanwhile, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey took to ESPN Radio on Saturday to express his own thoughts and concerns.
His concern level for the start of the college football season remains "high to very high" as the coronavirus numbers around the country continue to climb.
"I look at the numbers every day, and the important issue is not just numbers, it is trying to understand and comprehend, and that's where, literally, you want experts moving you away from the scroll or the titles at the bottom of the TV screen or the interviews of this expert or that," Sankey told Marty & McGee on ESPN Radio.
Throughout the college football ranks, and including now three separate conferences, Big-Ten, ACC and Pac-12, the idea regarding college football has become bleak. Now, all three conferences are considering the move to conference-only play within their ranks, with the Big-10 already expressing their intent to move towards just that.
For the SEC, Sankey says that his "deadline", if there is one, remains late July a move made to ensure there is enough time to make the decision, as the virus, and the data surrounding it, change literally every day.
"We put a medical advisory group together in early April with the question, 'What do we have to do to get back to activity?' and they've been a big part of the conversation," Sankey said via ESPN. "But the direct reality is not good and the notion that we've politicized medical guidance of distancing, and breathing masks, and hand sanitization, ventilation of being outside, being careful where you are in buildings.
Programs around the country, including the Florida Gators, have begun voluntary workouts with their collegiate athletes dating back to May 26th, when players were slated to officially be allowed to return to campus on a completely voluntary basis. For the Gators, they've since contracted a known 11 positive tests on the coronavirus, while maintaining all social distancing and CDC regulations surrounding it.
The reality is, Sankey says, you cannot mitigate every risk out there, there's only so much you can do.
"There's some very clear advice about -- you can't mitigate and eliminate every risk, but how do you minimize the risk? ... We are running out of time to correct and get things right, and as a society we owe it to each other to be as healthy as we can be."
While the efforts of other conferences to potentially move to conference-only play have continued, some SEC East programs, according to Bleacher Report's Matt Hayes, "desperately" want to play their ACC rivals. For Florida, that would mean a quick trip to Florida State University in Tallahassee this fall.
What has become abundantly clear, although many have not wanted to admit this, the college football season - or any collegiate sporting-season, is in danger of being postponed, indefinitely. Many programs have been pushing for wearing masks and minimizing the threat via social media. So far, that has fallen on deaf ears for many.
If there is to be a season, the health and safety for the student-athletes will need to be taken care of first and foremost. Until then, doubts will continue, until then, the season will be in jeopardy.