SEC commissioner Greg Sankey opened up SEC Media Days on Monday by stating that only six of the SEC’s 14 football teams have reached the conference’s 80% vaccination threshold.
Bryan Harsin revealed that the Tigers aren’t one of the six teams during a zoom interview with local media on Thursday.
“Yeah, I don't know where we'll be at the start of the season,” Harsin said. “We're not there yet. Uh, I think we're just in that 60 percent range is where we are, so I don't know by the time we get to the season where we'll be because a lot of things change as you get everybody back together, you get into camp and you're all just one focused on the season and the game that's in front of you.”
Despite not being at 80%, Harsin said that the players are still being educated on the vaccine by Auburn’s team physician Dr. Michael Goodlett. He also said that at the end of the day it is a personal decision, and that is how they approach it when talking with the team.
Harsin also said that the team hasn’t had a positive case in the last five months.
“But our guys have done a great job,” Harsin said. “The last five months, we haven't had any positive tests. I think our guys have taken it very seriously, which is hard to do. There's a lot of things going on, but I respect our players in that they are focused, they do take it seriously and they're trying very hard to do the things the right way so that we can play and not have those issues. So I'm proud of them for that, and then we'll see where we get to as the season begins."
The 80% threshold is important because, according to Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger, teams with 85% of their players vaccinated will not have to test regularly or wear masks inside team facilities.
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Not only will they not have to be tested regularly or wear masks inside team facilities, but reaching that mark is also important since the SEC will no longer be postponing games this season.
Last season the conference allowed games to be postponed because of roster issues as a result of COVID-19, but Sankey stated on Monday that games won’t be postponed this upcoming season. Teams that aren't able to play will have to forfeit the game.
Not every coach in the SEC spoke specifically on their team's vaccination numbers at SEC Media Days. However, Kirby Smart, Sam Pittman and Nick Saban revealed that all three of their programs had reached the required threshold.
Pittman and Saban both said that their programs were close to or over 90%, while Smart said the Bulldogs were over 85% vaccinated.
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