SEC commissioner Greg Sankey says games won’t be rescheduled due to COVID-19 this season


A flag signals the entrance of the COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the Central Bank Club on Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Hunter Shelton

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey kicked off SEC Football Media Days on Monday at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-Wynfrey Hotel by announcing that games canceled due to COVID-19 this season will not be rescheduled.  

Sankey also announced that six of the SEC’s 14 football teams have reached 80% vaccinations. 

“That number needs to grow and grow rapidly,” Sankey said. “We have learned how to manage through a COVID environment, but we do not yet have control of a COVID environment.” 

The commissioner did not announce which teams have met the 80% threshold.  

“You hope not to have disruption, but hope is not a plan is the great cliché,” said Sankey. “We still have roster minimums that exist, just like last year. What I’ve identified for consideration among our membership is we remove those roster minimums and you’re expected to play as scheduled.” 

Sankey noted that while nothing is official, teams should be prepared to forfeit if an outbreak prevents them from being able to take the field.  

In Sankey’s opening statement, he encouraged everyone who is involved with the SEC to get vaccinated: 

“Let me be clear to our fans, to our coaches, to our staff members, and to our student-athletes: COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. They’ve proven to be highly effective. 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.” 

Last November, a conference-wide outbreak caused four SEC games to be postponed in one week.  

Sankey knows that while we edge closer and closer to a healthy society, there will be roadblocks, but he is prepared to keep the SEC at the forefront of pushing college athletics back towards an eventual normalcy.  

Not everyone’s going to be pleased, and change takes time,” Sankey said. “However, if we understand both the strengths of college sports and the key areas to be addressed, we can work towards effective solutions.