SEC commissioner: Football teams might have to forfeit games canceled for COVID

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 3:46 PM CDT|Updated: Jul. 19, 2021 at 4:13 PM CDT
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(Gray News) – Southeastern Conference football teams may have to forfeit games this fall if canceled because of COVID.

Speaking at SEC media days in Hoover, Alabama, Monday, Commissioner Greg Sankey said games won’t be rescheduled, so “your team needs to be healthy to compete.”

The forfeit threat is “not policy,” he added.

The announcement comes as Sankey strongly recommended vaccinations.

“COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. They’ve proved to be highly effective. And when people are fully vaccinated, we all have the ability to avoid serious health risks,” he said.

According to Sankey, six of 14 SEC football teams have reached the 80% threshold in roster vaccination.

“That number needs to grow rapidly,” he said. “With six weeks to go before kickoff, now is the time to seek that full vaccination.”

Last season, hundreds of college football games were canceled across the country during the pandemic.

Fueled by the more contagious delta variant, COVID cases are surging in the United States, especially in the Southeast where vaccination rates in many states are lower than in other regions of the nation.

“It’s not a political football, and we need to do our part to support a healthy society,” Sankey said.

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

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