SEC Commissioner Says Vaccinations At 80%, Reveals Plan For 2021 Season
By Jason Hall
July 19, 2021
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey revealed the conference has reached the 80% mark as of the first day of SEC Media Days on Monday (July 19).
"That number needs to grow and grow rapidly," Sankey said during the media event's introductory press conference in Hoover, Alabama. "We have learned how to manage through a COVID environment, but we do not yet have control of a COVID environment."
Sankey added that the league does not plan to postpone games during the upcoming 2021 college football season and has recommended that the conference removes a 53-man roster minimum put in place during its pandemic-shortened 2020 season.
"You're expected to play as scheduled," Sankey said, addressing the 14 schools within the conference. "That means your team needs to be healthy to compete, and if not, that game won't be rescheduled and thus, to dispose of the game, the 'forfeit' word comes up at this point."
Sankey also encouraged all SEC fans, coaches, players and staff to get vaccinated, calling the vaccine "highly effective" in the league's effort to return to full capacity next season.
"And when people are fully vaccinated, we all have the ability to avoid serious health risks, reduce the virus' spread, and maximize our chances of returning to a normal college football experience and to normal life," Sankey said. "With six weeks to go before kickoff, now is the time to seek that full vaccination."
Sankey acknowledged recent reports of continued COVID-19 cases in other sports, including positive tests reported at the pandemic-delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics, as well as the game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox being postponed due to several cases within the Yankees' organization.
"It's not a political football and we need to do our part to support a healthy society because, as we look back, the potential absence of college sports last year caused us to think about not losing sight of the lifelong experiences, the laboratory of learning that takes place, and the educational benefits that accrue to the people who participate on our teams," Sankey said of vaccinations.