As colleges around the country continue to plot their coronavirus strategies, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey reiterated Wednesday that though spring football games are canceled, spring practice is not.
Although Sankey is not overly optimistic that spring practice can be rescued from postponement by the SEC’s self-imposed April 16 reevaluation date, it has yet to be officially ruled out.
“That doesn’t mean we’ll be back to normal or back to practice activities after April 16,” Sankey said in a conference call with reporters. “It was just a date that will allow our administrators to communicate with our coaches, our coaches with their students-athletes that have resulted in the departures from campus.”
Sankey is also hopeful that regular-season football — and all fall sports, for that matter — will begin as scheduled.
“That’s my focus, ” he said. “I’m a glass-half-full perspective person, so I have optimism.”
The SEC’s spring meetings are still scheduled for May 25-29 in Destin, Florida. The conference’s annual media days event, to be held July 13-16 in Atlanta, also is on track — for now.
“There’s a period on the end of that sentence,” Sankey said. “We’ll obviously think about everything going forward because we’re being guided by public health information and decision-making. My hope is we can return to our normal organized activities, our normal experiences.”
Sankey also addressed the eligibility issue that has been trending since sports and tournaments were canceled throughout the NCAA. He’s open to adding a year of eligibility for athletes in spring sports, however difficult it might be to implement.
“From my perspective, we have to understand the full set of implications,” Sankey said. “I hope we’ll move through those rapidly because I think one of the assets for our young people is knowing definitively what their eligibility status will be going forward.
“I don’t think this is simply a senior issue. Everyone in our program, particularly in spring sports, had their season disrupted. My encouragement is we take a broad look at what type of opportunities we offer going forward.”