Greg Sankey was asked some pointed questions recently in an HBO interview and his responses were loaded with buckshot.
When you’re the commissioner of the SEC, you have to expect to become a target more often than not. That’s certainly the case for Greg Sankey during the current pandemic as SEC schools attempt to gear up for the 2020 football season.
In a recent interview on HBO’s Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel, correspondent David Scott thought it would be a good idea to see if he could rattle Sankey with some pretty direct questions.
Sankey didn’t take the bait.
The segment begins with Scott describing the SEC commissioner as “the most powerful man in college sports”. Alabama fans might disagree with that statement, but okay, Sankey does wield a lot of power. The fact is, there is no most powerful man or true leader in college sports — particularly college football — right now, which is part of the problem.
Scott then begins to grill Sankey on allegedly flying student-athletes back to the campuses to resume football training. Sankey quickly corrected him on that point, stating “We haven’t flown student-athletes back to our campuses. Some of our student-athletes will drive. Others will make their own arrangements. So we haven’t done that.”
The second part of the question regarded whether or not Sankey felt it was safe to have players return to the training facilities on campus. With his trademark Sankey grin, he pushed back any notion that the SEC was taking unsafe measures.
“Again, you’re asking a question in comparison. So in comparison to what? To having them workout at homes — or home gyms that may have been their own hotspots, without oversight of sports medicine specialists, without strength and conditioning coaches? And that reality informed what I still believe was the right decision.”
From then on in the clip, there’s a back and forth about the numbers of SEC schools that have reported positive cases of COVID-19 in players. It seemed Mr. Scott never got the idea that Sankey wasn’t going to provide him with numbers that he should be going directly to the schools for.
Sankey was cool as a cucumber, and Scott seemed visibly annoyed that Sankey wasn’t giving him what he wanted.
The clip is part of a segment that aired on July 21 of this year. It would be worth hearing how Sankey stonewalled the interviewer further.