SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said Saturday the power brokers of college football are "running out of time to correct and get things right" to complete the 2020 season during the coronavirus pandemic.
Sankey said on ESPN Radio's Marty and McGee (h/t Andrea Adelson) that his concern about whether the campaign can safely take place is "high to very high" and added:
"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. 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."
The structure of the college football season has already started to evolve. The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced their intention recently to play conference-only schedules.
Sankey said on Marty and McGee that he doesn't feel pressure to make an announcement and that the SEC's deadline is late July:
"We're trying to make the right decisions for us, for the Southeastern Conference. It does have an impact because I've said publicly we're all linked nationally, so when other people make decisions, yup, there's an impact, but also we're going to look at our situation and make a decision that's appropriate for the Southeastern Conference and most importantly for the health of our student-athletes."
ACC Commissioner John Swofford provided a similar late-July timetable for a decision.
Meanwhile, Clemson sent out a fan survey asking about supporters' opinions of moving the 2020 campaign to the spring with the hope of having fans in attendance.
Sankey said that despite a focus on playing the season as scheduled, it's likely out of anyone's control because of COVID-19.
"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," he said, via Adelson.
Coronavirus cases have recently surged around the country.
The SEC has crowned a football champion every year since its first campaign in 1933. LSU is the reigning conference champ, and the Tigers won the national title last season.