So far this season, the SEC has avoided COVID-19 outbreaks like the ones we’ve seen in the NFL; league commissioner Greg Sankey is determined to keep it that way.
ESPN obtained a memo Sankey sent to athletic directors and coaches this week warning of fines and even suspensions for not following coronavirus protocols, such as wearing face coverings. The fines start at $100,000, taken from the annual revenue the conference distributes to each school.
Bolded and underlined for emphasis, the memo stated, “Do not relax — and do not let those around you relax — because of a few weeks of success.”
The memo states that programs whose coaches, staff or other personnel fail to adhere to the approved task force requirements will be assessed a $100,000 reduction in conference revenue. The amount will increase by $100,000 for each subsequent week of noncompliance.
“The imposition of any reduction in Conference revenue for failure to substantially comply with or repeated disregard of the SEC masking requirement will be determined at the Commissioner’s discretion,” the memo states. “In addition, individuals who fail to comply with or disregard the masking requirement could be subject to penalties, including but not limited to, suspension for a specified period.”
This is the second memo Sankey has sent out about masks/face coverings, the first coming last week after several coaches, including Mark Stoops and Mike Leach, were spotted not wearing theirs on the sideline. A few days later, Mike Leach and a New York Times reporter had this memorable exchange about masks.
Here’s the full exchange between Miss. State head coach Mike Leach and NYT reporter Alan Blinder regarding Leach not wearing his face mask against LSU.
Left a few words or sentence fragments out that I either couldn’t hear or couldn’t make sense of. pic.twitter.com/8SW9bh7tkC
— Dalton Middleton (@DLMiddleton8) September 28, 2020
Oddly, I’m not sure it applies to coaches, staff, and personnel, but fans at Kroger Field are required to wear masks that loop around the ears at games this season, not bandanas or neck gaiters. Or, as Leach would say, those face sock things that sit on your neck.