SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced during Monday's media session that only six of the conference's 14 football teams have hit at least an 80% COVID-19 vaccination rate and then added teams could be made to forfeit if unable to field a squad for a scheduled game this fall due to coronavirus-related absences.
According to Harry Lyles Jr. of ESPN, Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart said Tuesday that his team is over 85% for vaccinations, which allows for the loosening of some health and safety protocols. That doesn't mean Smart is satisfied.
"It's not about a number," Smart explained. "It's not about a threshold. I think everybody wants to write who's over and who's under.
"What it's really about is being able to save our season. Being able to keep our players safe. We want to keep our players safe. We want to keep our coaches and staff safe. We want to keep our family members safe, and that comes through vaccinations."
Smart also said vaccinated coaches have addressed players about why they received the shots.
"Dell McGee, one of our African American coaches and running back coach, did a tremendous job," Smart said before continuing that McGee got vaccinated to spend more time around his family and because he "wanted to show the people in his community where he's from, that it's safe and be a role model to do it."
Sankey has strongly encouraged unvaccinated players, coaches, staff members and fans to get their shots, in part because the SEC currently doesn't intend to postpone matchups if a team is impacted by COVID-19 issues.
"That means your team needs to be healthy to compete, and if not, that game won't be rescheduled," he said. "And thus, to dispose of the game, the 'forfeit' word comes up at this point."
BetOnline.ag lists Georgia at +200 to win the SEC, behind only the Alabama Crimson Tide (-165) among the favorites.