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Jumbo Package: Sankey speaks on possibility of SEC playing without other leagues, Alabama players join #WeWantToPlay

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Your latest Crimson Tide news and notes.

Alabama Spring Game Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Still nothing but the “will they or won’t they” drama going on, and here are the latest updates.

“I don’t think that’s the right direction, really,” Sankey said. “ Could we? Certainly. So, there’s a difference between can you do something and should you do something in life. And so, we’re actually set up with our schedule, with our own health protocols, that we could if that was the circumstance; operate on our own. I’m not sure that’s the wisest direction, but you know, there’s been a lot of interesting things have happened since March in college sports.”

The SEC playing a season by itself might not take place even if the other four Power Five conferences did cancel. While that is a small possibility, according to Sankey, it just might not make sense in the long run. But what about players or teams flipping the script coming to the SEC instead?

Hopefully it doesn’t come to that, but if it does there will be some internal pressure to play, for sure.

Adhering to its fractured nature, the NCAA’s richest five conferences formed factions over the idea of playing a season this fall or not, splitting off into warring parties: the Pac-12 and Big Ten are expected to cancel or postpone their seasons; the SEC and ACC would like to play; and the Big 12 is “really split,” according to multiple sources. A divided conference sitting between other divided conferences is a fitting metaphor for the entire sport.

There would still be plenty of interest in a league consisting of SEC and ACC schools plus Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Iowa and Nebraska.

Geoff Ketchum over at Rivals is already hearing rumblings about the effect on recruiting.

Hmm, and Harbaugh was the coach making a public plea. Connect the dots?

As usual, Alabama’s players have been mature about the whole ordeal, choosing to speak rarely but well. Chris Owens said it best.

You can click the tweet to read his entire thread, but suffice to say he’s unhappy with the disjointed nature of college football leadership. Too many Alabama players joined the chorus to post here, but Michael Casagrande compiled them for you. All of them are pleased with the protocols in place at Alabama.

Saban believes that players are safer with the football team than not.

“I want to play, but I want to play for the players’ sake, the value they can create for themselves,” Saban told ESPN. “I know I’ll be criticized no matter what I say, that I don’t care about player safety. Look, players are a lot safer with us than they are running around at home. We have around a 2% positive ratio on our team since the Fourth of July. It’s a lot higher than that in society. We act like these guys can’t get this unless they play football. They can get it anywhere, whether they’re in a bar or just hanging out.”

Last, Nicole Auerbach has a look at potential unionization.

The NLRB’s rationale in declining to assert jurisdiction in the Northwestern unionization case could guide Power 5 conference players’ unionization attempt. In its decision, the NLRB found that because the “overwhelming majority of competitors” in FBS football “are public colleges and universities,” it could not assert jurisdiction. Because the NCAA maintains a mission of promoting competitive balance, the NLRB rationalized that it wouldn’t be fair if private universities’ football players unionized, while players at public universities could not access the benefit.

Several notable differences exist between a potential unionization attempt raised by Lawrence and other Power 5 conference football players and Northwestern football players’ attempts. First, it appears that any new NCAA football player unionization attempt will be a collective effort to organize players across Division I FBS member institutions. Here, organizers will likely argue that the players’ employer is not only their respective universities but the NCAA and the Power 5 conferences. Because the NCAA and Power 5 conferences are private nonprofit associations, they are private-sector employers under the NLRA.

Claiming to be employees of the conference rather than the school seems like a flimsy argument, but that is the first hurdle they will have to clear if a union is to be.

That’s about it for now. Have a great day.

Roll Tide.