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SEC commissioner: “We are running out of time”

The Big Ten announced conference-only schedules for the upcoming season, but that move alone isn't enough as college football continues to grapple with COVID-19 precautions.

The commissioner of the top conference in college football is sounding the alarm that if the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t brought under control soon, the season is in jeopardy.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said today that his level of concern is “high to very high.”

“We put a medical advisory group together in early April with the question ‘What do we have to do to get back to activity?’ and they’ve been a big part of the conversation,” Sankey told ESPN. “But, the direct reality is not good and the notion that we’ve politicized medical guidance of distancing, and breathing masks, and hand sanitization, ventilation of being outside, being careful where you are in buildings. There’s some very clear advice about -- you can’t mitigate and eliminate every risk but how do you minimize the risk? . . . We are running out of time to correct and get things right and as a society, we owe it to each other to be as healthy as we can be.”

Sankey said he is still working on getting the season started as scheduled, but he has to acknowledge that the situation -- particularly in some of the states where SEC schools are located -- is grim.

“I’m going to focus on preparing to play the season as scheduled but acknowledge the circumstances around coronavirus are going to guide us in that decision making,” Sankey said. “And the reality right now is the trends in our region in our nation are not in the positive direction for being able to have normal experiences.”

A growing concern is emerging that it’s simply not feasible to have a football season in a pandemic.