More than 90% of LSU football team is vaccinated, one of highest rates in SEC, sources say

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The Advocate 20 July, 2021 - 10:40am 6 views

When is SEC Media Days?

SEC Media Days start Monday, July 19, and run through Thursday, July 22. The event will be live streamed on fuboTV. The event certainly will have its fair share of talk about the College Football Playoff expansion as well as name, image and likeness. There will also be a number of first-time SEC coaches at the podium. al.comSEC Media Days 2021 live stream: How to watch online for free, TV, time, full schedule

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron speaks to reporters during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days Monday, July 19, 2021, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) 

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron speaks to reporters during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days Monday, July 19, 2021, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) 

HOOVER, Ala. — The LSU football team has a vaccination rate above 90%, multiple sources confirmed with The Advocate, which means the Tigers have more flexibility within Southeastern Conference medical protocols and are less likely to possibly forfeit games if their schedule is disrupted by coronavirus outbreaks.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said Monday he's recommended not to reschedule games due to outbreaks within teams this season, emphasizing the need for teams to join public safety measures against a coronavirus pandemic that has surged once again with its deadly Delta variant.

Sankey's proposal is yet another incentive for people to get vaccinated within a league that has no vaccination mandate. The SEC has already placed an 85% threshold that, if met, no longer requires teams to test for COVID-19 regularly or wear masks inside their facilities.

Sankey made it clear that the league is not prepared to jump through logistical hoops to accommodate disruptions now that vaccines are "widely available." The league still currently has its 53-man roster minimum requirement it had last season, Sankey said, but he has recommended to remove that minimum to further incentivize teams to get vaccinated. 

"That means your team needs to be healthy to compete, and if not, that game won't be rescheduled," Sankey said.

Six of the SEC's 14 football teams have reached 80% vaccination, Sankey said, and Georgia coach Kirby Smart confirmed Tuesday that the Bulldogs had a rate north of 85%. 

LSU coach Ed Orgeron didn't offer an exact number on the team's vaccination when asked Monday, but he added "I think most of our guys have been vaccinated for COVID."

"And obviously that's a personal choice," Orgeron said. "But hopefully, hopefully towards the season, most of our guys decide to get vaccinated."

Multiple SEC games were postponed last season due to coronavirus outbreaks on football teams — LSU rescheduled its games against Alabama and Florida — and since the league designated two extra weeks for postponed games at the end of the season, only two games were outright canceled.

Sankey said the SEC will not set extra time aside again for this season.

"Vaccines are widely available," Sankey said. "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.”

Email Brooks Kubena at bkubena@theadvocate.com.

HOOVER, Ala. — Florida was looking every bit like the elite Southeastern Conference program it is in 2020 until it was tripped up in the LS-sh…

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SEC Media Days returns to Hoover

WVTM 13 News 20 July, 2021 - 10:01pm

Greg Sankey, please stop quoting Bob Dylan

al.com 20 July, 2021 - 10:01pm

Listen, these ears never again want to hear the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference quoting Bob Dylan at the beginning of college football season.

Once was bad enough — like a crime against humanity.

But twice? And with this second invocation being used to spike the football in the NCAA’s face? That’s a bad omen, OK? As they used to say in Sports Illustrated, that’s this week’s sign of the apocalypse.

Big supporter of Sankey. Huge admirer of Dylan. Grand lover of college football. It’s definitely time to worry, however, when Sankey quotes Dylan about college football to kick off SEC Media Days.

“When I was standing here in 2015,” Sankey said on Monday inside The Wynfrey Hotel, “it was my first time to be the commissioner for SEC Football Media Days, and I opened with a song lyric from Bob Dylan way back in 1963, “The Times They Are A-Changin’.”

“You may recall that Dylan spoke of you [sports reporters?] in one of the verses in that song: ‘Come writers and critics who prophesize with your pen. Keep your eyes wide open, the chance won’t come again. And don’t speak too soon for the wheel’s still in spin, and there’s no telling who that it’s naming, because the loser now will be later to win, for the times they are a changin’.’

“If you wonder if I pick songs that have some meaning, I think I got that one right, maybe a little early because the times are changing.”

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Look, we’re never going to agree on all the things — nor should we want to — but when the person running the SEC can think of no better way to express his thoughts than reading off Dylan lyrics into a microphone like some high school senior writing in his best friend’s yearbook, then, well, I think we can all agree that the situation is — what’s the best way to phrase this — tangled up in some kind of bizarre blue hell.

When Greg Sankey, mastermind of NCAA politics, says things in front of reporters like, “I don’t know the path forward,” right after saying he predicted all of this six years ago, then it’s best not to believe him. With NCAA president Mark Emmert being blamed for leading from behind on name, image and likeness, and the Supreme Court dunking on the antiquated status quo of collegiate athletics, and the taste of blood in the water around all of it, Sankey most definitely has a good idea of how this is going to all go down.

With the SEC’s commissioner coming out ahead.

I like Sankey, but I just don’t know if I want to trust him yet. I don’t know if what he wants for himself and for the SEC is, ultimately, the best thing for the overall health of collegiate athletics. For example, Sankey says he wants more diversity among SEC football coaches, and of course that should be a given, but don’t let those words distract us from reality. There aren’t any Black head football coaches in the entire league this season.

College athletics is changing, sure, and it’s time, but — and I’m just thinking out loud here — maybe the guys with all the money shouldn’t be telling us how to make the rules and what to think. (Doing it with Dylan references is just rude.)

I like the idea of Greg Sankey being the czar of major collegiate athletics, and I’m willing to listen to what he’s selling, but please spare us the righteous folk singer imagery. The SEC is not some kind of altruistic king, and this revolution that Sankey is peddling to reporters is not worthy of praise unless, at the end of it all, football players in college are collecting profit-sharing salaries for sacrificing the health of their brains.

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Everything else is just a cash grab for the already rich, and college football is broken in its current form because, and this going to be the last Dylan reference of this column, the “vandals stole the handles” a long time ago. The College Football Playoff, a business run by the Power 5 conferences, cut most of the NCAA out of the football money in 2014. What, now they’re coming for the NCAA Tournament, too, and we’re supposed to cheer and sing? Nah.

Let’s think about fixing collegiate athletics for everyone and not just the rich. The SEC, let’s not forget, wants Congress to write legislation granting the NCAA antitrust exemptions. Anytime dudes from the South want help from the federal government that should be a red flag that something is really broken. “We need a federal solution,” Sankey said. That solution should involve the talent on the field sharing the wealth of a multi-billion dollar industry. Why can’t the NCAA just do the right thing?

On Monday, Sankey warned that the country’s entire Olympic model was in the balance. Well, the Power 5 conferences shouldn’t have been so greedy. Shame on them. Elite American athletes will find a way to the Olympics with or without Greg Sankey. And, just to be clear, Great American Bards like Whitman and Faulkner and Dylan (I lied) and Robert Hunter and Andre 3000 would want everyone majoring in English, art and music, so let’s keep them out of it all.

If the commissioner of the SEC quotes Kurt Cobain on Tuesday inside the ballroom of the hotel that’s attached to the mall that’s inside the suburb affixed to the Alabama city of Birmingham then let’s just say y’all ain’t going to see me inside that room on Wednesday.

“Smells like Teen Spirit” wasn’t a song about deodorant, but these stinky sports reporters already knew that.

Joseph Goodman is a columnist for the Alabama Media Group. He’s on Twitter @JoeGoodmanJr.

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