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SEC threatens fines, suspensions for not following coronavirus mask protocols on sideline

Sam Cooper
·2-min read

The SEC is threatening to fine schools whose coaches do not follow coronavirus protocols on the sideline.

Last week, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey sent a memo to the league’s head coaches and athletic directors as a reminder about requirements for masks and face coverings. According to ESPN, Sankey followed up with another memo this week. This time, the commissioner outlined “fines and possible suspensions” for those who fail to comply with the conference’s protocols.

In the memo, again sent to SEC athletic directors and head coaches, Sankey urged them not to “relax” in their adherence to the protocols “because of a few weeks of success.”

Programs with coaches and other staff members that do not adhere to the conference’s protocols could see their share of conference revenue reduced by $100,000. The SEC also could impose suspensions.

From ESPN:

"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."

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron congratulates players after a score against Vanderbilt in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. LSU won 41-7. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron congratulates players after a score against Vanderbilt in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. LSU won 41-7. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The SEC returned to action on Sept. 26 and multiple head coaches were shown on the sideline either not wearing face coverings properly or not wearing one at all. That continued in the SEC’s second weekend of competition, including some instances of coaches wearing a mask but pulled down below their mouth.

The SEC mandates that “all coaches, staff and non-competing student-athletes” wear a “face mask/neck gaiter on the sideline” with physical distancing “employed to the extent possible.” The conference emphasized that the proper use of a mask or neck gaiter “requires that the mask/neck gaiter completely cover both the nose and mouth such that neither nostrils nor the tip of the nose is visible.”

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