Discussions about the viability of playing sports with the world in its current state have been raging since organized athletics basically stopped being a thing back in March, and as is the case with the crisis that resulted in everything being put on hold, it doesn’t seem like these debates are going to end at any point in the near future.
We’ve gotten a better idea of what to do (or, in the case of Major League Baseball, what not to do) when it comes to playing games while promoting the safety of everyone involved, as the NHL and NBA have proven the bubble strategy can be an incredibly effective tactic. In an ideal world, college football would be able to harness the same approach, but even if you ignore the logistics of figuring out a way for teams from over 100 schools to safely isolate themselves in a central location, it’d be pretty hard for student-athletes to do the whole “student” thing inside a bubble.
While no official decision has been made, it seems like the Big Ten is on the verge of calling off this year’s season and it appears other major conferences will do the same if it does. However, it should come as no surprise that the SEC seems to be doing everything in its power to avert the potential chaos that could unfold if people in the South are deprived of college football in the fall.
I’ve seen a number of fans speculate that the SEC would have no problem being the only conference to play this year, which would honestly be an incredible power move. Would this be a safe and smart route to go down? Almost certainly not, but at the same time, who wouldn’t want to see Alabama play Auburn over and over again?
There’s also been chatter that some schools might attempt to defect from their conference to the SEC for a year if that scenario was actually realized, and while I assume there are a million legal issues to prevent that from happening, that didn’t stop Ohio State linebacker Teradja Mitchell from floating the possibility on Monday.
Can we go play in SEC then ?!
— Teradja Mitchell (@teradja_) August 10, 2020
On Tuesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey appeared on The Dan Patrick Show to shed some light on the current state of affairs, and while he didn’t address the possibility of allowing other schools to temporarily pledge their allegiance to the conference, he did imply it was unlikely they’ll be the lone member of the Power Five to keep on truckin’ if everyone else calls it quits.
Here’s what he had to say about that hypothetical scenario via 247Sports,
“Could we? Certainly. So, there’s a difference between can you do something and should you do something in life. And so, we’re actually set up with our schedule, with our own health protocols, that we could if that was the circumstance; operate on our own.
I’m not sure that’s the wisest direction, but you know, there’s been a lot of interesting things have happened since March in college sports.”
So, the SEC could do it because the SEC can do anything it wants, but based on Sankey’s comments, it seems extremely unlikely that’ll be the case. With that said, he also couldn’t help but toy with everyone’s hearts by throwing in that final thought, but I guess only time will tell if he ends up breaking them by following suit if the dominos start to fall.