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Greg Sankey to Dan Patrick: Our medical group has said we can continue to go forward

Out of nowhere, the Dan Patrick Show has become the place to break and make news in college sports.

After Patrick opened his Monday show reporting the Big Ten voted 12-2 against playing and that that league and the Pac-12 would announce the cancelation of their fall seasons today, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey was inundated with notifications while conducting a previously-scheduled Zoom call with SEC campus leaders.

Sankey appeared on Patrick's show Tuesday morning, and the conversation began on a somewhat awkward but completely unavoidable topic: How did my reporting affect real world decisions you are making?

"We had some really healthy dialogue with our athletics directors and presidents and chancellors," Sankey said. "We've made decisions to avoid some of the time pressure that I sense others are feeling. We've not had our players in helmets and pads, we've spread out our preseason preparation, we've moved our kickoff back to allow our universities to get back their normal fall semester order."

The SEC is not scheduled to open camps until Aug. 17, with games not slated to begin Sept. 26. Big Ten schools, on the other hand, are already in camps, with their games slated to begin the weekend of Sept. 5. Because of that, the Big Ten is feeling a sense of urgency not shared in the SEC, and the SEC will not follow its northern and western cousins into the abyss if that is where they choose to go. At the same time, Sankey said, the SEC cannot operate as if a Big Ten or Pac-12 cancelation is completely irrelevant to staging their own season.

"Every day we learn a little bit more," he said. "It is not going to be a guiding moment if another conference makes a decision, but a piece of information along this really, really interesting journey."

Sitting behind the backdrop of their conversation -- and, indeed, every conversation in college sports at this moment -- is a medical report that Pac-12 ADs and coaches viewed last night and the league's presidents will weigh as they vote whether to play, delay or cancel their fall season. The SEC has its own medical experts, and thus far they don't share the Pac-12 group's alarm.

"Our medical advisory group has said, yes, we can continue to go forward," he said. "Were that to change, certainly that would be a stopping point but the indicators are we can, right now, do what we're doing in a healthy way and we're going to continue to consider that central issue -- health -- as we move forward, we hope towards competition with no assurances that that will take place."

Asked if the SEC would feel comfortable and prepared to be the only Power 5 league playing this fall, Sankey said this: "Could we? Certainly. There's a difference between can you do something and should you do something. We're actually set up with our schedule, with our own health protocols, we could if that was the circumstance. I'm not sure that's the wisest direction, but a lot of interesting things have happened since March in college sports."

Other news-y items addressed in the interview:

On another school joining the SEC as a 2020-only member: "There are probably any number of legal, contractual, media... I could just go down the list of reasons why that would not be practical."

On the NCAA addressing eligibility concerns in regards to missed seasons: "I expect this week the NCAA will deal with eligibility questions around the ability to opt out and continue to have your season of eligibility."

On the possibility of expanding the College Football Playoff for this season: "I've not had that conversation. As you can imagine, you toss and turn at night and go through a thousand issues. It may have popped into one of those thoughts, but not at this point in time, no."

That's where things stood as of late Tuesday morning. Stay tuned to The Scoop as things develop.