The can, she be kicked.

They had a meeting for this?

No decisions regarding the SEC football season were made Monday during an in-person meeting of conference officials at the SEC office in Birmingham, Alabama, but commissioner Greg Sankey reiterated that the “critical decisions” will be made later this month, according to a release.

“It is clear that current circumstances related to COVID-19 must improve and we will continue to closely monitor developments around the virus on a daily basis,” Sankey said. “In the coming weeks we will continue to meet regularly with campus leaders via videoconferences and gather relevant information while guided by medical advisers. We believe that late July will provide the best clarity for making the important decisions ahead of us.”

What are they going to learn in two weeks that they already don’t know?  I can only think of one relevant thing.

The athletic directors also discussed scheduling options for fall competition, and Sankey did address the nonconference decisions made by other leagues.

“We have no common games with the Big Ten. The impact of their decision is indirect,” he said. “We did have two games with the Pac-12. We’ve had minimal impact to our direct schedule.”

Tell that to Alabama and the $6 million check that just got flushed down the toilet.  But I digress.  When the ACC follows the lead of the Big Ten and the Pac-12, that impact will no longer be minimal.

Here’s Sankey’s problem and why he’s procrastinating.  On the one side, he’s got this rock:

As of late Sunday night, the mood inside the league is “emphatic” about playing a football season this fall, according to a source at one SEC program. Unlike the Big Ten or Pac-12, there is no consensus among schools who spoke to Banner Society regarding eliminating non-conference games.

And on the other, this hard place:

Here’s the cruel truth about how college football leaders approached football this fall: The entirety of their plan to return was based on hope. Hope that the COVID-19 would go away. Hope that college campuses wouldn’t be a petri dish for the virus. Hope that they could figure out a way to play a contact sport in a time of mandatory social distancing. Hope for a vaccine to keep players healthy and seats full.

Okay, that’s not entirely fair.  Nobody expected the virus to “go away”.  What they did hope was that, as has been the case in many countries, we’d get a grip on the coronavirus and that some semblance of normal life would resume by the fall.

“The trends are not what we desired, not what we had experienced earlier in the summer. Pretty much in the wrong direction,” Sankey said. “That’s problematic. But that doesn’t mean that’s the finish line.”

Without assigning blame, that simply hasn’t happened.  Sankey and his ADs know the COVID happy talk is nothing more than that.  But Sankey and his ADs don’t want to be the folks to do this, either:

“Ultimately, no one is playing football in the fall,” said a high-ranking college official. “It’s just a matter of how it unfolds. As soon one of the ‘autonomy five’ or Power Five conferences makes a decision, that’s going to end it.”

So, where does it go from here?  In drips and drabs, I’m guessing.  Once the ACC drops non-conference play, as it is expected to do, the SEC will have to go the same route.  Expect Sankey at month’s end to announce a goal of playing a ten-game conference-only schedule if the trends permit it… and watch that number shrink over time to nine… eight… if they don’t, until some P5 conference announces no fall ball as a matter of last resort.

There’s only so far Sankey can kick that can.

43 Comments

Filed under SEC Football

43 responses to “The can, she be kicked.

  1. Hogbody Spradlin

    To be fair, there has been a certain consistency in their pronouncements about the end of July. The amusing thing, at least to me, is the pearl clutching hope that by then the infection rate will decline enough to PLAY BALL. ESPN is gonna be doing everything it can to corrupt the judgment.

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  2. Malcolm X

    They are such goddamn assholes. They say they are consulting “campus leaders“. Yeah, how many football players and their parents have they consulted? And Gee, They already know they can’t seat people in a stadium at more than 1/3 capacity. Cut all athletic directors pay to $60,000 per year. No pain, no gain

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    • Granthams replacement

      A great majority of the players are on campuses working out to play football. That should answer your question on the players and players families feeling towards playing football. The ADs are worrying about ticket revenue.

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    • I doubt they’re consulting parents on this decision. Every man who participates in the sport is a legal adult and can make his own decision about the desire to play. I don’t even think they can share a positive COVID test with a parent without permission from the athlete.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ATL Dawg

        “Every man who participates in the sport is a legal adult and can make his own decision about the desire to play.”

        I’d love to hear a coach try to work this line in while kissing a parent’s ass relentlessly on the recruiting trail. They may have to mumble it though.

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  3. The Georgia Way

    Rest assured, we’re still planning on playing a full schedule in front of full stadiums. Everything’s fine.

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  4. Today in life comes at you fast. My season occurrence probability meter is now at:

    Normal season (fans or no fans) – 0%
    Conference only with limited fans – 10% and dropping
    Conference only with no fans – 60% and rising
    Spring season of any kind – 2% and falling
    No season – 30% with no change (right now)

    The probabilities add up to more than 100% on purpose.

    For the people who believe no way they play without fans in the stands, follow the money. The TV money can soften the financial blow, and the people in that room know the paying season ticket holder is highly likely to watch from home.

    The only reason I say no season is at 30% is that everyone around that table plus the players want to play. The lack of a football season would be devastating financially to the athletic departments and to many of the players who have NFL dreams and need the season to improve their draft position (and emotionally to those who will never put on a uniform again).

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    • What about class? Because if there’s no class, but they have football then even I’ll get on the BS train. All of them. My hatred of the NCAA is OG as it gets, this may cause me to start protesting with a mask an long gun. I have not been on the paying players train, but no class but football, that’s straight up saying your a tool for the machine, not even lying or hiding anymore. I’d support player boycott.

      I’m having a pretty rough morning, So if I stated all that poorly not intentionally.

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      • I’m saying no fans in the stadium, but students are on campus (but can’t attend and likely can’t tailgate). If students aren’t allowed on campus, I see no way they can play with a straight face and say these men aren’t professionals/employees.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Paul

        UGA is planning on having students on campus but classrooms will not be full, social distancing will be enforced, temperatures will be taken and the teaching may or may not be in person. At least that’s the plan at the moment. Oh yeah, masks are mandatory.

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    • Senator,
      Can you please post something about the secondary tomorrow? That way someone can post a link to “Safety Dance” and my week will be complete.
      Thanks in advance,
      Got

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  5. sniffer

    No decisions regarding the SEC football season were announced Monday..

    Fixed that for ‘em, because there’s no way they all flew in for a face to face and didn’t leave with a plan in place. They’ll announce it in good time and that’s what they said. There’s too much money at stake for the conference commissioners not to have come to an understanding before yesterday about the host of issues before them. They’re on the same page because tv told them they have to be. No rogue conferences allowed. It just looks like they’re independent.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to agree. They likely have 2 or 3 courses of action, just kind of waiting till a hard decision point

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      • Milton Dawg

        I, for one, did not expect a single policy announcement to come out of yesterday’s meetings. I believe that there were decisions made as to various courses of action. But until they have to play their hand they are not going to do so and when they have to do so is the end of July. There is absolutely nothing to be gained by announcing a decision today. Even if they made some announcement and predicated it with “while things may change in the next few weeks,” there would still be people that kill them for making an announcement and changing things up before the end of the month. There certainly was not going to be an announcement on July 13th that the season was finished.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. CB

    They’re gonna kick the can into spring and continue hoping for the best imo. Next year at this time we’ll be discussing the ethics of players playing two full seasons within a calendar year… Hopefully.

    Perhaps the NFL can collectively bargain themselves enough to tide us over until then.

    Liked by 1 person

    • CB, you seem to think a spring season is the best possible outcome. I have multiple reasons to believe it won’t happen. As I’ve thought about it more, can the Power 5 all get on the same page for it to happen? Playing football in Ann Arbor, Lincoln, Madison, Chestnut Hill, Pullman, Boulder, Ames, Columbus, etc. in January and February just seems like a no go to me. To play in the spring with a lower likelihood of weather problems would mean starting in March. No way draft-eligible players participate in a season starting that late.

      Just curious on your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • CB

        While conferences and the NCAA as a whole are largely incompetent I’d guess if a spring season does happen the hundreds of millions of dollars at stake would get them on the same page in the end.

        True Jan and Feb are typically your coldest months, but they hold outdoor bowl games during that same general time frame, and November/December can get pretty chilly as well. Plus it’s not like these people really care about the athletes anyway. The USFL pulled it off in the 80’s, although I don’t know the details of exactly when they started and finished.

        As for draft eligible players I could see the Fields and Lawrence caliber sitting out, but guys with something to prove (Newman, LeCounte, Rice etc) would likely still be inclined to play. NFL could move the draft back or simply hold it during the season if they wish.

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        • I agree with you on the money angle although the money is tied to TV which would require the networks to break existing contracts for spring programming or move college games to other days/nights of the week.

          Most of those bowl games held in December are held in warm weather climates. Sure, there’s a game in New York, but the game in Detroit is played indoors. The terrible weather (meaning snow) happens on occasion in November but would be a regular occurrence in January & February. From a quick Google search, it looks like the USFL started the first weekend in March.

          The NFL has made it clear to this point that they aren’t moving their timeline for the draft including the combine. Every eligible player would have a decision to make in January … make myself eligible or not (especially underclassmen).

          Liked by 1 person

          • CB

            I doubt whatever Saturday programming was scheduled to be on CBS in the spring would be so appealing they’d thumb their nose at CFB. Even if they have to break a contract or two they’d still likely come out ahead, but I’m not a tv exec so this is all amateur speculation.

            NFL might change their tune if nobody signs up for their combine. It’d be a matter of which side decides to call the other’s bluff. Granted a unified NFL has the upper hand going in, but even if the NFL prevailed I’d still be okay playing the season sans whoever leaves for the draft. It would be interesting to see how that effects EE’s.

            I don’t see an issue with starting in March and playing a June/July CFP (depending on whether they play a full schedule). It’d be hot for the outdoor games but not as hot as August nooners.

            I may as well be trying to guess January lotto numbers, but it all makes sense to me. At least for now. Especially if they manage to get a vaccine together sometime this fall or winter.

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            • Those contracts are:
              March Madness
              NFL playoffs
              PGA Tour
              The Masters
              College basketball

              Going to break all of those just for one year of one game on a Saturday of college football for a contract that is likely going away? I would doubt it.

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              • CB

                Doubt you’d have to break anything. Maybe adjust a bit. The NFL doesn’t factor in with a March start, but even with a January start the NFL only plays on Saturdays after CFB ends as it is. Plus, the NFL and CFB have always shared the same season without issue.

                PGA? Who really gives af ab Saturday golf compared to football? Final rounds aren’t until Sunday anyway.

                March Madness is on 4 different networks Thursday-Sunday as it is so that’s not a complicated fix for the Saturday games.

                And we’re just talking CBS. ESPN airs more games than anyone. Furthermore, how many other networks will be waiting in the wings like jackals to pounce on CFB if any of the other networks balk? You don’t think TBS would rather play college football as opposed to Seinfeld reruns?

                Remember it’s not like everything is set in stone from week 1 during a normal football season. They decide from week to week which games will be played on which station and who will host College Game Day. They’re used to winging it.

                You also have to factor the possibility of schools and networks holding one another to their 2020 obligations in the event the season is cancelled. I doubt everyone just shrugs their shoulders in the spring and says “oh well maybe next year.” Not with all the money to be made.

                Then you consider CFB being played on different days of the week. Not ideal, but when your choices are that are nothing I don’t think it’s even a conversation.

                Might be a logistical nightmare, but I think it’s pretty doable. Who knows though?

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            • I see 400 reasons there’s problems playing in the Spring. It will be chaos.

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        • The USFL specifically had Nicer locations indoors and I don’t think they started until March. It’s been a while though

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      • I see no way on Earth possible to do football in Ann Arbor in January February. There’s already been lots of fights over starting the baseball season early because of weather in the North vs the South.

        And what’s the point? You’re playing with an entirely different roster in the Spring than the fall. Now you’re risking getting hurt in the Spring and costing your NFL draft season coming that fall.

        The only 2 realistic possible options are a limited fall and/or no football at all.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Also, an underclassman gets hurt late in the season and is virtually guaranteed to miss the start (or all) of a fall season in 2021. There is only one reason to play in the spring … $$$$$$$. All of the other reasons slant against any sort of spring schedule.

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          • I’m becoming a broken record but football is a violent brutal physical sport that is extremely tough on the body. There’s actually reasons the season a set up with the spacing that it has. In fact safety is part of why I have not wanted more games for college students whose bodies are not developed fully yet. And you better believe there’s coaches that are gonna Junction boy it and force the Spring then turn around and say they better get ready for the fall. There’s no off season for recuperating, for training, for exercise, for developing the body, for healing. For sanity.

            I get the TV and the money is the number one driver but I’m absolutely against Spring football, Maybe a handful of exhibition games I’d be OK with. But a full slate no way

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  7. Russ

    Any chance the SEC is talking to the ACC and Big 12 about playing games based on localities? We could play Tech and Clemson. Mizzou could play Kansas, Aggies play some Texas schools and so on.

    A person can dream, can’t he?

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    • Unless they all agree to standard testing and isolation protocols, I don’t see any way that happens. John Swofford said last week that the ACC will make sure Notre Dame is taken care of in any scenario. Unless all 3 leagues go to a minimum of 10 games, there’s no way it happens since the Big 12 already plays the full round robin of conference games. I don’t see the conferences reducing the number of conference games (8 for the SEC and ACC and 9 for the Big 12) to add inter-conference games to the mix.

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  8. 123fakest

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the players strike if these money grubbers try to roll out a season.
    If the players don’t strike and demand money now, when!?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. ATL Dawg

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/columnist/dan-wolken/2020/07/14/college-football-2020-sec-trouble-covid-19-outbreak/5432797002/

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  10. FlyingPeakDawg

    Disney is carefully watching the charts, discussing with analysts and experts, running models, and waiting to see…how their stock is performing before giving instructions to the AD’s.

    Where did all the P5 college presidents go? Hibernation?

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  11. Paul

    I don’t know. I see people out there not only believing that it will go away, some even say it already is going away. I’m dumbfounded but I have seen this argument being made with a straight face. Apparently as long as fewer people are dying it’s going away. Because, you know, death rates can never go back up. And dead people are the only statistic that counts. Perhaps the SEC can hang their hat on that.

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  12. Anonymous

    What are they going to learn in two weeks that they already don’t know?

    We will learn if the recent large uptick in cases was related to mass protests and / or people saying screw it for Memorial day or if there is something else causing it (e.g. HVAC usage). If cases drop close to pre-June levels, then it means we can probably resume the plans from that time frame. If not, lets hope we get close to herd immunity before flu season.

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  13. Atticus

    This is amazing. Completely absurd. Comparing other countries statistics? That is idiotic. America isn’t Italy or China or Sweden or even the UK. To have been thinking this will go away is the definition of clueless.

    Again to repeat for the kids in the back: Three choices

    1-Live life as the new normal, wear masks out in public, social distance, wash hands, don’t gather indoors with large groups of people, stay home from work if you can, significantly reduce exposure for those at risk…..LIVE LIFE. Statistics support this. 30 million people have had it…..most have died in older demographics with pre-existing conditions. Not all, but most.

    2-Shut down all large gatherings because cases have increased (as we are testing so much more) even though deaths have not. Go back and forth, shut schools down, go virtual, all sports cancelled at least until spring. Economic collapse for college towns and small businesses in so many areas. Football and sports would never recover, it would never return to hat it is. Sorry that is reality. Show me evidence to the contrary.

    3-Delay the season, delay the decision another month to hopefully start late if deaths don’t go up over the next few weeks. Spring is not an option imo for so many reasons.

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