“This number has to grow and grow quickly,” Sankey said. “We have learned to manage in a COVID environment, but we do not yet have control of a COVID environment. “
One thing the conference can control is what it will do if a team is unable to play due to coronavirus concerns. Sankey said matches would not be postponed and recommended that the conference remove the 53-player minimum put in place last year.
The message to schools is “You have to play as planned,” Sankey said.
“It means your team has to be healthy to compete, and if not, this game will not be rescheduled,” he said. “And so, to dispose of the game, the word” forfeit “comes back at this stage. “
Florida coach Dan Mullen, who spoke to reporters shortly after Sankey, declined to say what percentage of his team have been vaccinated, but noted that this was a “fairly high number” and that ” we are approaching the threshold ”. The Gators postponed two games in October, but played both later in the season.
For a program to avoid regular COVID-19 testing and the requirement to wear masks indoors, it must achieve an 85% vaccination threshold.
In his opening statement, Sankey strongly encouraged fans, coaches, players and staff to get vaccinated, saying they are widely available and “very effective.”
“And when people are fully immunized, we all have the ability to avoid serious health risks, reduce the spread of the virus, and maximize our chances of returning to a normal college football experience and a normal life.” , did he declare. “With six weeks to go, it is now time to ask for this full vaccination. “
Sankey said the league must remain vigilant against the virus, highlighting how a number of Olympians have been pulled from the competition and how last week’s Yankees-Red Sox game was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests .
“This is not political football,” Sankey said of vaccinations, “and we need to do our part to support a healthy society because, in hindsight, the potential lack of college sports last year has left us behind. reminds us of not losing sight of lifelong experiences, the learning lab that takes place and the educational benefits that accrue to those who are part of our teams. ”