SEC Commissioner: Safety Will Drive College Football's Return over Finances

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 12, 2020

Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey speaks during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days, Monday, July 15, 2019, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey won't put a price on public health and safety. 

Sankey appeared on The Paul Finebaum Show on Tuesday and commented on rumors that the SEC would move forward with the 2020 regular season regardless of what other conferences do:

Paul Finebaum @finebaum

We asked @SEC Commissioner @GregSankey about reports insinuating that the SEC would consider playing football without the other conferences, and he cleared up those comments with this response: https://t.co/B8dU0H6TO3

Sankey added (h/t 247Sports' Austin Nivison):

"The answer to that is, let's go back to March. It was not financially advantageous to stop everything. We had brand new baseball stadiums that seat up to 15,000 people. We had a basketball tournament with automatic bids and NCAA Tournament units, my goodness. If we can't read that as evidence of decision-making and the sophistication of that decision-making as a commitment to those principles, I can't help overcome the cynicism. I know that football is different. If I were you, that would be my follow-up. Yep, it's different, but that principle of safety is still in the forefront of our minds."

Sankey previously intimated that the SEC or any other conference could follow its own individual timeline while appearing on Jacksonville's 1010 XL radio station on April 30 (h/t ESPN's Alex Scarborough): 

"There is room for different conferences to make different decisions. If there's a couple of programs that aren't able, does that stop everyone? I'm not sure it does. But the ability for us to stay connected will remain important."

USC head coach Clay Helton confirmed earlier Tuesday that the Pac-12 has discussed playing only conference games as a solution to have the 2020 college football season move forward in the fall.

Stadium's Brett McMurphy surveyed 114 athletic directors in late April, and 99 percent believed a season will happen with 75 percent predicting that it will be delayed.

The regular season is currently scheduled to begin on Aug. 29.