SEC Athletes Voice "Concern" Over 2020 College Football Season in Confidential Phone Call
On Saturday, the SEC was back in the news after a Washington Post article reported conversations between student-athletes and the conference about the upcoming season. On the call--which took place Wednesday-- athletes voiced concern about the return of college football in 2020.
The call approached many different topics with the athletes according to the article, one of which was the potential for outbreaks on the conference teams.
"There are going to be outbreaks. We are going to have cases on every single team in the SEC. That's a given. And we can't prevent it,"an SEC official was quoted in the story.
Another topic the players voiced concern over was what the plan of action is once students start returning to campus for class. Ole Miss linebacker MoMo Sanogo expressed his discomfort with having to sit next to students in class.
Sanogo said students who party and could potentially infect the football players was his primary concern.
“As un-fun as it sounds the best thing that you can do is just try to encourage others to act more responsibly and not put yourself in those kinds of situations," one official responded to Sanogo. "I’m very comfortable with what we’ve done on campus. I’m concerned about what happens from 5 p.m. until 5 a.m.”
One player asked Sankey why it was worth it to have a season in the fall because of all the uncertainty and still unanswered questions.
"Part of our work is to bring as much certainty in the midst of this really strange time as we can so you can play football in the most healthy way possible, with the understanding there aren’t any guarantees in life," Sankey said.
The SEC released a statement hours later, saying that the conversations were meant to be confidential and that the call was meant to keep an open dialogue with the players that were concerned about the health protocols.
“The call was intended to be confidential to encourage honest conversation and directly provide student-athletes with information and a forum for dialogue. We will work diligently to make the right decisions, with the best information available, in a dynamic and changing environment,” Sankey wrote.
The SEC still has some very important decisions to make over the coming weeks. Even though the conference has announced a plan to move to an all-conference schedule, the additional matchups have not been officially been worked out.
That decision will come next week according to a report from Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger. Not only did the revised schedule provide a little more clarity on what the season will look like, it also bought the conference a few extra weeks.
The first week of games will now be held on Sept. 26, as opposed to Sept. 5 which allows the conference to track two important elements. Medical experts advised the conference to delay the start of the season so it could further track how professional leagues returned as well as account for potential spikes once students do return to campus.
LSU is set to start holding classes on Aug. 24, which gives the conference a full month to really monitor both the return of pro sports like the MLB and students walking the campuses.
“We want to play. We want to see football. We want to return to normal as much as possible,” Texas A&M linebacker Keeath Magee II said in the WaPo article. “But it’s just that with all this uncertainty, all this stuff that’s still circulating in the air, y’all know it kind of leaves some of us still scratching my head. I feel like the college campus is the one thing that you can’t control.”