SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey is a leader of men; an unflappable face to the country’s boldest and best conference. On Tuesday, it was reported that the Big 10 and Pac-12 would postpone their seasons until spring at the least, but Sankey said that he isn’t ready to call it quits just yet. While his words may not have been as inspirational as Mel Gibson’s anti-tyrannical speech in Braveheart, I’m sure they would have made William Wallace proud. The message from the commissioner was, “Be patient,” as he is hesitant to make a decision that would eliminate a practice that is as interwoven into the south as church and sweet tea.
The altered, in-conference-only SEC schedule is slated to begin on Sept. 26. Discussions about the viability of the 2020 season have been ongoing for five months. Sankey believes now is not the time to make any hasty decisions. Many Auburn players and others from around the country seem to agree, joining the #WeWantToPlay player movement in favor of the 2020 season. Auburn’s prodigal son Bo Nix and wide receiver Anthony Schwartz are just two prominent Tigers to voice their support of a season.
Like Nix, Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence is spearheading the movement, stating in a series of tweets that college campuses are the safest places for college athletes.
Importantly, Sankey is level-headed enough to listen to medical advice all while considering the opinions of the most crucial variables to college football – the players. “Our medical advisory group has said ‘Yes, we can continue to go forward.’ Should that advice change, that would certainly be a stopping point,” Sankey said Tuesday on the Dan Patrick Show.
We all know the SEC is on a different level than the other conferences and that, come playoff season, the bluebloods of the south will be title contenders. But its unlikely the SEC would play through the pandemic on their own. Already, if other Power 5 conferences cancel their season, the ideas of the remaining conferences courting teams to join their schedule have been floating around. The ACC has made a similar move adding FBS independent Notre Dame to the conference for the 2020 season.
Sankey is skeptical of that idea however. “There are probably any number of legal, contractual, media, I could just go down the list of reasons that that’s not quite practical,” Sankey added. “So that would be my answer in avoiding any interference claims on the ‘Dan Patrick Show’ on Tuesday morning.”
Thankfully, for the most die-hard and uncompromising fans in the country, Sankey has voiced his solidarity with the south’s outcry for football – as long as it’s done safely. Even if all the other Power 5 conferences cancel their fall seasons, the SEC commish believes he can put his teams on the field.
“I don’t think that’s the right direction really. Could we? Certainly,” Sankey said. “There’s a difference between could you do something and should you do something in life. So we are set up with our schedule with our own health protocols that we could if that was the circumstance, operate on our own. I’m not sure that’s the wisest direction.”