FAYETTEVILLE — SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey appeared on Good Morning America Tuesday morning and detailed the things going into an upcoming decision on football and other fall sports.
Sankey addressed the issue that all 11 states comprising the SEC are or in the past two weeks been on the government’s Red Zone List of COVID-19 hotspots. He was asked why playing college football was even worth the risk of playing?
“You have to remember our student-athletes are really in a bubble on our campuses,” Sankey said. “We have athletic’s programs with embedded health professionals. We, as a conference, each of our universities has taken this virus seriously from the beginning.
“The comparative is should we simply let people out in society where we don’t know whether they have COVID or not? We’ve been involved in testing, we’ve been involved in care, we’ve been involved in following local health policies continuously. I think it has provided a healthy environment for your people.”
While many have advocated for sports to be canceled this fall, some have argued that a structured setting at a college is better and safer for many of the athletes. Sankey, who has preached patience concerning any decisions, talked about what his timeline now may look like.
“We’ve been very deliberate in our decision making,” Sankey said. “We haven’t put young people in helmets and pads for practice. We’ve been thoughtful about what this entire summer may look like. We’ve moved the start of our season back to Sept. 26, three weeks after the last of our campuses return because we’re going continuously be monitoring what happens in each of our states.
“Our timeline is really based on the advice of a biostatistician way back in April. He said to me, ‘This is a new virus and not been through this before. So the longer you take to make decisions the better information you’ll have available to make those decisions.’ That has been wise counsel and counsel we’ve repeated at every step of the way.”
Sankey was asked about 800 college athletes who have tested positive for the virus and five have suffered from myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle, according to ESPN. Sankey was asked if this information is factoring into his upcoming decision?
“We rely continuously on the medical advisory task force as do our colleague conferences,” Sankey said. “Certainly that is a topic of conversation as is every aspect of the virus. We want to provide the care and support and right information so we can make decisions. Learning about that condition as it relates to COVID and other health implications well before COVID existed is an important part of the learning process for all of us.”
The SEC released its football schedule this past Friday.