COLUMBIA, S.C. — Two days before he will meet in person with all 14 SEC athletics directors and one day after the Pac-12 followed the Big Ten in announcing a conference-only schedule for fall sports, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey sounded the alarm as best he could concerning what college football will look like in the coming months.
Sankey says his concern as to whether there will even be a football season is "high to very high."
"The direct reality is not good," Sankey wrote on Twitter after appearing on the ESPN Radio's "Marty & McGee" on Saturday.
"I want to provide the opportunity for college athletics to be part of the fall, but we need to all consider our behavior to make possible what right now appears very difficult."
Sankey reiterated that the SEC plans to determine later this month how to approach the football season as a number of states with SEC schools deal with an increase in COVID-19 cases.
"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," Sankey said. "You can't mitigate and eliminate every risk, but how do you minimize the risk?
The Big Ten and Pac-12 were the first to go to a fall sports schedule with conference games only. There are rumblings a number of schools were caught off-guard when the Big Ten made its announcement on Thursday. They were obviously not as shocked when the Pac-12 made its Friday announcement. The ACC and SEC plan on finalizing their plans for the fall at the end of the month and obviously if either league follows the lead of the other two conferences, then a number of in-state rivalries are in jeopardy - not just South Carolina-Clemson but Georgia-Georgia Tech and Florida-Florida State. But Sankey is hoping that his message will hit home that unless the coronavirus cases start taking a dramatic turn in the opposite direction, college athletics will be running at less than optimal circumstances.
"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."