SEC commissioner Greg Sankey explained during Monday's media days session that six of the conference's 14 football teams have reached at least an 80% COVID-19 vaccination rate and that the "number needs to grow and grow rapidly."
According to Alex Scarborough of ESPN, Sankey added teams are "expected to play as scheduled" and could be made to accept losses if unable to field a squad during any particular week.
"That means your team needs to be healthy to compete, and if not, that game won't be rescheduled," Sankey said. "And thus, to dispose of the game, the 'forfeit' word comes up at this point."
As of now, the SEC does not intend to postpone contests for coronavirus-related reasons this fall. While speaking about this plan, Sankey strongly encouraged players, coaches, staff members, and fans to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots if they're not already immunized.
"It's not a political football," he said about the vaccine, "and we need to do our part to support a healthy society because, as we look back, the potential absence of college sports last year caused us to think about not losing sight of the lifelong experiences, the laboratory of learning that takes place, and the educational benefits that accrue to the people who participate on our teams."