Greg Sankey said the idea of playing this upcoming season during the coronavirus pandemic was unpleasant.
The SEC commissioner appeared at the Paul Finebaum Show on Thursday after the league announced a schedule of only 10 game conferences that moved the start of the season to Sept. 26.
“There was discomfort,” he said. “The discomfort for me, the discomfort of many of our programs, is not universal. It is an act of bringing people closer together. It was one of those times when you and my friend Mike Slive were great at the time, and I am grateful for that learning experience because we had to come together and make really difficult decisions. The reality is that for the last four months, we have been choosing this difficult decision-making method, really as you mentioned when I joined (the show). And I think hopefully we can find out what’s going on in public health.
“We need to see an improvement, we need people to stay healthy. We need a positive test percentage to reduce. We will not eliminate COVID, but we can solve public health problems so that our young people are educated and so that our young student-athletes can play football and other fall sports. “
Sankey was asked why there were only conference games in the league and not a plus 1format like ACC.
“People were demanding that we increase the number of conference games, so I thought it would be a great celebration in that reality,” Sankey joked.
It was a moment of tenderness to what Sankei was a gloomy experience. Eventually, he took a page from the Big Ten scenario that talked about the conference champion’s coronation priority.
“But it’s a recognition that we’re in a very different environment, and the importance of the Southeast Conference championship is paramount to us and my thinking. There has been a lot of discussion about whether this was the right direction, ”said Sankey. “It simply came to our notice then. We have great respect for the competitors taking place during the conference, but we don’t know what the fall will be and since we have a chance to sort our schedule, we think it gives us the best chance to play in that championship, have our division winners, which is our tradition, then hold conference championship game – a few weeks later than originally planned. “
According to him, the plan is to include fixed weeks in the 10-game schedule, but it will not be a universal week.
“We will provide an open week during the season, it will not be a common open week,” Sankey explained. So if I delve into some of the details, we’ll spread it out (in a week) probably in three different weeks. So if you fail early, you have to have – if you have – success, but it has to be right.
“If you need to quickly adjust or allow a game to be played at the back of the schedule that can be moved. And it’s a recognition of what we just don’t know. So we think it’s important to plan for this now and not expect the best in this environment because we were completely upset and want to make sure we’re ready for that if, for some reason, it happens in our season. . “
Sankey said the next agenda will be to include conference games on each team’s schedule.
“If you want, we’ve created a lot of models and thought about how to make that decision,” Sankey said. “Our athletics executives suggested a first decision earlier this week so we could make a second decision. The second solution is exactly what the format will look like.
“I know our fellow ACC was able to publish their matches pretty quickly, but that’s a different dynamic. Our two other peer conferences in July. Published reports (Big Ten and Pac-12), it took some time for them to report. In fact, we are still waiting.
“We just want to make sure we pass what will be a difficult decision when changing the season. We will then finally approve this format. ”
It was noted that the SEC planning format differed from the ACC format, which was certainly different from the top ten. The chain of events could have moved many away from the guards after discussions between conferences.
“We are a conference group,” Sankey explained. “We are independent entities. We are in different regions, making well-thought-out decisions. Relationships are important. There will be differences in that format. I think what we’re doing is great, and I think it will continue to be great without qualifying any other elements.
“We stayed communicating, making decisions at different points, maybe a little different, but we all try to support the game of football and the opportunity to participate positively in such circumstances. . “
View the full interview here.