INDIANAPOLIS (WAFB) - The return of college sports continues to be in limbo and NCAA president Mark Emmert said Friday, May 8 that he doesn’t think they can return until the students are actually back on campus, CBSSports.com reported.
“College athletes are college students, and you can’t have college sports if you don’t have college (campuses) open and having students on them,” Emmert said via the NCAA’s Twitter account. "You don’t want to ever put student-athletes at greater risk than the rest of the student body.
Emmert left the door open for sports to begin again with colleges and universities only partially open.
"That doesn't mean [the school] has to be up and running in the full normal model, but you've got to treat the health and well-being of the athletes at least as much as the regular students. So if a school doesn't re-open, then they're not going to be playing sports. It's really that simple."
Emmert said school presidents and conference commissioners he has talked to are in agreement with him on the matter. However, there’s a chance that some conferences could begin play before others.
“We would much rather relax some of those competitive-equity issues than ever put a young man or young woman at risk, physically or mentally,” Emmert added.
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey is planning for the season to start on time and with a full season as scheduled but that could ultimately change.
CBSSports.com was part of a question-and-answer session with Sankey that covered several topics.
“I think it’s important to communicate that we’re focused on playing the season as scheduled," said Sankey. "First, we want to make sure we’re prepared. But if you have to adapt, you adapt off of that preparation. I also think it’s important that young people who had the foundation of their education, the rhythm, the support right there … that’s gone. It’s important to communicate to them we’re working on a daily basis to get back to operations. What does that look like? I know what I want it to be, but I can’t predict on what it will be. I’m going to focus on that normal start-up. It may vary, but I can vary off of that plan rather than trying to have to play for all the problematic ‘what ifs.’”
Sankey said it hurts him to see athletes idled not knowing when they can return to play. He added officials are waiting as long as they can to figure out media days.
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