SEC Media Days: Commissioner Sankey speaks on COVID-19, NIL changes conference faces

SEC Media Days

HOOVER, Ala. (WATE) — Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey kicked off SEC Media Days by speaking on changes in collegiate sports and what the conference will be doing to manage it.

COVID-19 in the SEC

Sankey says that six of the 14 football teams in the conference have reached an 80% vaccination rate, however, those teams have not been named. “That number needs to grow and grow rapidly,” he said. “We know how to manage through a COVID environment, but we do not yet have control of the COVID environment.”

Sankey referenced the COVID-19 situation that North Carolina State faced in the College World Series when speaking on issues with COVID-19.

“Let me be clear to our fans, to our coaches, to our staff members, and to our student-athletes,” he said. “COVID-19 vaccines are widely available. They’ve proven to be highly effective. And when people are fully vaccinated, we all have the ability to avoid serious health risks, reduce the virus’ spread, and maximize our chances of returning to a normal college football experience and to normal life.”

Name, Image and Likeness in the SEC

Sankey also spoke on the new rules that allow student-athletes to profit from their Name, Image, and Likeness, and wants a consistent national standard.

“Because state laws are either inconsistent or nonexistent, the NCAA rules can no longer resolve key issues,” Sankey said. “We need a federal solution. We understand it’s difficult to gather the support for such federal legislation. However, congressional action is necessary if we’re going to provide every student a clear, consistent, and fair opportunity to benefit from their name, image, and likeness.”

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