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SEC warns of fines, bans for COVID-19 violations

  • Covers the SEC.
  • Joined ESPN in 2012.
  • Graduate of Auburn University.

For the second straight week, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey sent out an internal memo to athletic directors and coaches on the need to follow coronavirus protocols, this time outlining fines and possible suspensions in the event that they do not do so.

The memo, which was obtained by ESPN, cited the recent spread of the coronavirus in the White House and the effect of positive tests on the NFL schedule.

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.”

In consecutive weeks, high-profile SEC games have featured coaches improperly wearing their face coverings. Mississippi State coach Mike Leach was shown frequently with his mask pulled down during his team’s win over LSU on Sept. 26, and on Saturday, Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher was shown repeatedly not wearing his face covering during the TV broadcast of the Aggies’ loss to Alabama.

Last week, Sankey sent a memo to coaches and ADs following the league’s opening weekend reminding everyone to wear face coverings and saying that “additional action” could be taken if they do not follow protocol.

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