Commentary: SEC has no intention of stopping soon


By Mark Bradley/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The week has been awash in domino theory, the first draft of which read thusly: If the Big Ten said it wasn’t playing college football in 2020, the Pac-12 would do the same, thereby leaving the remaining Power Five leagues no choice but to pull out.

Reality check: The Big Ten and Pac-12 have indeed removed themselves; the SEC, ACC and Big 12 have said they plan to play. Which brings us to:

Domino theory, Take 2: If the Big 12 buckled _ there was thought it might, though the league announced Wednesday it plans to play and released a redone schedule _ the ACC would likely follow. Had that happened (and it still could), it would leave the SEC, like the cheese, standing alone, and surely no single conference could manage that.

To which we say, again: Not so fast, my friend.

The SEC wants to play football. The SEC believes its testing protocols offer the realistic chance, or as realistic as chances can be, of playing football. There could well come a day when the SEC says, “We can’t make this work.” That day remains a ways away. And that day, should it come, won’t be tied to what any other conference does or does not do.

Not to belabor our stirring farmer-in-the-dell imagery, but the SEC sees itself as the biggest of cheeses. (It Just Means More, y’know?) Initial reports held that the Big Ten would vote 12-2 to cancel/postpone the season, with only Iowa and exceedingly whiny Nebraska in disagreement. The Pac-12 vote was unanimous.

Were the SEC to hold a straw ballot today _ it’s nowhere close to a real vote _ the guess is that it would be 13-1 in favor of playing. (I’m saying “1? because there’s always Vanderbilt.) As much as we on the periphery might believe that an autumn without college football is inevitable, the SEC feels no urge to concede. Indeed, there’s belief within the Just-Means-More league that the Big Ten/Pac-12 Just Wimped Out.

If that sounds unduly harsh … well, welcome to these polarized United States. Of the 11 states with SEC members, nine have Republican governors. (Exceptions: Louisiana and Kentucky.) Of the Pac-12’s members, nine are based in states governed by Democrats; of the Big Ten’s 14 members, eight are similarly situated. The SEC is therefore under no pressure from above to call this off; on the contrary, the loudest political voices are urging their schools to keep going.

That doesn’t mean the SEC should play just because elected officials _ and a goodly chunk of the electorate _ demand football. It does mean that the SEC can afford to wait without being hooted down, at least not locally, as a mercenary enterprise that cares nothing about the welfare of its student-athletes.

Toward that end, the SEC did a wise thing: It moved its kickoff date from Labor Day weekend to Sept. 26. This was reflected in commissioner Greg Sankey’s tweet Monday: “Best advice I’ve received since COVID-19: ‘Be patient. Take time when making decisions. This is all new & you’ll gain better information each day.’ ”

Chances are, the COVID data will look no more encouraging a month from now. But the SEC bought itself time the Big Ten, for reasons unknown, did not. That league announced last week its intention to open Sept. 5. Six days later, it canceled the season. What was the thinking there?

The SEC plans to keep going until something makes it stop. (From Sankey: “Can we play? I don’t know. We haven’t stopped trying.”) It would be no great surprise if the SEC keeps going after the Big 12 and ACC decide they cannot. The Just-Mean-More folks wouldn’t mind some company _ there might still be a three-league College Football Playoff _ but the SEC believes its protocols can and will offer the chance of getting through 10 regular-season games, and maybe one more.

“Even if we just play for the SEC championship,” one conference higher-up told this correspondent, “that’s still a championship for our players.”

This correspondent’s opinion hasn’t changed since March: In a pandemic, sports are unnecessary and, in the case of a full-contact sport, potentially injurious to the health of its participants. The Big Ten made a big deal of its fear of COVID-triggered myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle. But, as we know too well, medical opinions are subject to heated debate. Indeed, a Duke infectious disease specialist told Sports Business Daily he believes it’s safe to play football. (Duke’s in the ACC, I do believe.)

The SEC is not ignoring medical advice. It is, however, viewing such advice through the prism of, “Is this still do-able?” Once more, with feeling: The SEC really, REALLY wants to play.

Do I believe Sankey and the league presidents and ADs would agree to something that has no hope of working and the distinct possibility of harming? No, I do not. These are not evil people. I believe the conference will do what’s right for players who are, after all, amateurs. I believe what’s right would be not to play.

That said, I won’t rip the conference for holding open all options. It can stop anytime between now and Sept. 26. Once you’ve said, “We’re done,” you’re done. I expect the SEC will eventually reach a stopping point. I also expect it will be the last major conference to get there.

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  1. We had strong evidence for this in March, now a study confirms 50% of the people are already immune, we’ve been hoodwinked with a giant, Democrat lie.

    “Fauci says study that found up to 50% of people may be able to fight off coronavirus because they have ‘immune cells that recognize it’ could be key to who dies of COVID-19”

    This month, researchers from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology in California found that the immune systems of 50 percent of subjects appeared to remember past exposure to other coronaviruses, which helped them fight off the new virus. “

    This explains why hered immunity, 66%, is being reached so soon, at around 20% of the population. 20% + 50% of the population is close to the science estimate of 66%.

    • I remember someone saying a few similar things:

      1. . “When you have 15 people (infected), within a couple days it is gonna be down close to zero.” We are up to 5.5 million infected now and it’s still going, and going, like the energizer bunny.
      2. “I used to say 65,000 (deaths) and now I’m saying 80 or 90.” We are over 170,000 deaths now and still climbing unabated.
      3. “as the heat comes in, typically that (coronavirus) will go away in April.” So now we are saying Labor day, when the cool comes in?
      4. “This is gonna go away without a vaccine.” Wanna take bets?
      5. “It’s going to disappear one day, it’s like a miracle, it will disappear.” I do believe in miracles but probably not this one.

      • But Sly, you’re posting random rumors, I’m posting a quote from the admittedly deceptive Fauci, but backed by 3 studies, and supported by the math of the low positivity in tests. You’re acting deliberately stupid. Hopefully you didn’t go to UF, hopefully you’re a Seminole or an Ibis.

        READERS: We can fact check the 50% co-immunity result quoted by Fauci, by looking at the low test positivity results across the nation, most states are under 20% positivity, and 66-20%= 46%, very close to the 50% immunity quoted by Fauci and the 3 correlating studies.

        Conversely, Sly is providing “fake debate” counterarguments, easy to expose: 1000 people being wrong, doesn’t make every other claim wrong, no one who can write a sentence can be so stupid as to imagine Sly gave a logical counterargument. It overtly violates the Ten Commandments of Logic:

        03. Hasty Generalization: Thou shalt not use small numbers to represent the all.

        • Atlas –

          1. You’re digging yourself into a deeper hole.

          2. My quotes are not rumors nor fake. They were actual quotes by your presumed hero.

          3. Link to where Fauci has self admitted he was deceptive please?

          4. “Fauci says study that found up to 50% of people may be able to fight off coronavirus because they have ‘immune cells that recognize it’ could be key to who dies of COVID-19.”

          I didn’t fact check your quote nor took the time to research your claim of “backed by 3 studies, …” Let’s assume the quote is accurate for argument’s sake. I think we have big difference in interpretation though. I understood Dr. Fauci’s operative words to be “up to”, “may”, and “could be”. Perhaps you mistakenly read “at least”, “will”, and “must be”, respectively. That was enough for me conclude whatever you say is not trustworthy without further consideration. Further, if I interpreted Fauci’s quote correctly, that still leaves over 50% of the population not able to fight off the virus. That’s still a whole lot of people.

          5. “You’re acting deliberately stupid. Hopefully you didn’t go to UF, hopefully you’re a Seminole or an Ibis.” So now that your assertions are questioned and met with skepticism, you resort to bullying, shame, and personal attacks? Good luck with that. By the way, I did graduate from UF and did very well. Without knowing your background and I am by no means remotely close to being a genius, but I can confidently claim with absolute certainty that I did not do any worse than you academically at UF.

          6. I’m not a gambler or better but I’d be willing to make an exception and bet $100,000 against your claim of “By Labor day (2020)…, new infection rates will drop to near zero.” If you are up for it and it’s legal (I don’t know because I’m not into betting), let’s write up a contract through a reputable third party and make escrow deposits. Not sure that’s how it’s typically done legally. Otherwise, we can do a friendly wager like the loser will make a public apology on the forum, eat crow, and leave in shame never to post ever again on this site under the current or any other name.
          7. I assure you, my logic and judgement may not be always be correct but it is a lot more sound and balanced than your narrow views.

          • Sly, Because you are employing false claims And false logic, it is impossible to debate you because you can make up a new life for every truth I bring to the argument.

            I tried debating dishonest people for years, but every time I tried I lost.

  2. Corrected:

    Sly, Because you are employing false claims And false logic, it is impossible to debate you because you can make up a new lie for every truth I bring to the argument.

    I tried debating dishonest people for years, but every time I tried I lost.