SEC Football Media Days opened Monday in Hoover, Ala. , which is the conference’s latest opportunity to be reminded by the often-repeated banners, banners, and billboards: it means more. However, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey reinforced a factual letter for 2021. He even threw an F-bomb — a “forfeit” — to get that point home. “With six weeks left before kick-off, now is the time to get a full vaccination,” Sankey said in his opening speech. “We know that nothing is perfect, but the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine is an important and wonderful scientific product. It is not a political football.” It’s a powerful statement given that it comes in a region where 10 of 11 states in the SEC Country voted Republicans in the 2020 election. This is not about politics or personal decisions. It is about football. Just how much does that mean? Sankey set out to collect statistics on the COVID-19 vaccine and SEC member institutions. Six of the 14 schools at the conference reached the 80 percent vaccination threshold. The next six weeks will determine how college football fits into the vaccination equation across the South. Perhaps the purest pro-vaccine message should be, “It only takes one game.” Ask North Carolina, who had to lose her place in the college world championships. That’s the same standard this football season will run in 2021, a message the Big 12 sent out at Media Days last week. “We still have a lower limit on the list, just like last year,” Sankey said. “What I have selected for consideration among our members is that we remove the minimum roster and you are expected to play as scheduled. This means that your team must be healthy to compete, and if not, this game will not be rescheduled. Thus, to get rid of the game The word forfeiture appears at this point. This is not a policy. What you see is the end of the decision-making process.” Concession isn’t a sure thing, but Sankei presents it as an undisguised threat. What else can the conference do at this point? Imagine how the waiver would be received in SEC Country. Keep in mind that last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had two games that were pushed back only four weeks from the schedule. Imagine if Florida-LSU – one of the top games of the SEC season – had not been rescheduled in 2020. SEC could have tolerated COVID-19 delays in last year’s schedule – a 10-game conference schedule with just enough built-in flexibility to get the conference champion into a game Collegiate football comma. Alabama, of course, won the national championship. Texas A&M almost got a watershed point, too. The SEC had one of the best plans for the busiest season in college football history. The only two games not played in 2020 are Vanderbilt at Georgia and Ole Miss at Texas A&M. The difference this season is that flexibility is not there. Texas A&M and Georgia, who finished fifth and ninth in the final college game rankings last season, may need that last game a little more in 2021. The margin of error is less than in 2020, even if COVID-19 remains the threat. “We didn’t build at the same time as we did last year, particularly towards the end of the season, to accommodate the turbulence,” Sankey said. “Unless we’re going to do that, our teams will have to be fully prepared to play their season as scheduled, which is why my notes are included in the vaccination incentive.” Will other schools listen? Florida coach Dan Mullen didn’t say if his team hit the 80 percent threshold. Every other Hoover coach will be asked the same question, and the only voice that carries more weight than Sankey’s is Alabama coach Nick Saban. He had COVID-19 last season and already appeared in an ad encouraging fans who want full stadiums to be vaccinated. This should be all the motivation players need, regardless of personal politics. All it takes is that one game, and you could put one of those teams away from the College Football Playoff For a conference that loves that number — 13 national championships in soccer since BCS began in 1998 — it should be an easy decision when it comes to access. to the 80 percent threshold. How much more information do you need?