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OPINION | WALLY HALL: SEC concerned about coronavirus surge

by Wally Hall | July 10, 2021 at 5:03 p.m.

The Southeastern Conference’s football media days are still on schedule, one year after they were canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

They start July 19, although nothing is carved in stone. The meetings are in Birmingham, Ala., and that state, like Arkansas, is slow to get vaccinations and is experiencing a surge in the virus.

Media attending will be given daily passes instead of one good for all four days.

Not everyone is going to get to hear Nick Saban in person. Seating is going to be reduced by about a third.

Coaches, athletic directors and players are talking about playing in front of full stadiums this fall. Just a year ago, many conferences were canceling their seasons, while a couple of conferences were delaying them until the spring. Others found a way to play football, even if it was in front of just 25 percent of a stadium’s capacity.

Granted, Tokyo, home of the delayed Olympics, has declared a state of emergency and will not allow fans in the venues.

Worldwide experts are concerned about this delta variant of covid-19, but for now things are still on track for football in the fall.

Schools need it. They lost millions of dollars last year.

The SEC gave all 14 members $23 million to help. It will come out of future earnings.

What seems certain is the SEC will have football. It did last year, and things were worse then.

Now we have vaccinations to protect against the virus. One idea being discussed is that everyone who wants to attend a football game might have to prove they’ve had both shots.

So basically, it could be up to football fans if they want to be sure to see football this fall.

Everyone has the right not to be vaccinated, but conferences have the right to not allow the unvaccinated into the games.

We are way down the road from where we were last year. But the SEC is redefining its media days and tweaking the attendance rules on a daily basis, and that means there is concern about who is and who isn’t vaccinated.

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