Lincoln Riley took on the Southeastern Conference last week. He’s not the first Oklahoma Sooners coach to take aim at the SEC; Bob Stoops did it, lived to tell about it and then got weary of everyone wanting him to repeat the process.
Give Riley credit. It takes bravado to stand up to the SEC, especially five months after a 63-28 Peach Bowl loss. But stand up Riley did when he called it “ridiculous” that college football programs want to bring players to campus June 1 in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. SEC presidents were scheduled to vote this week on that very proposal.
Then Wednesday, the NCAA sided with the SEC. The Division I council voted to allow voluntary workouts for football and basketball players beginning June 1. Which figures to mean more than just the SEC is likely to congregate linebackers and tailbacks and tackles at a campus near you.
And now, Riley is in no-man’s land. Does he stick to his principles that it’s dangerous to bring back the troops? Or does he swallow his pride and join the Land Run, trying to get ready for the 2020 season?
The SEC clearly was not on an island. University of Iowa president Bruce Harreld said three weeks ago he wanted the Hawkeyes football players back in Iowa City on June 1. Ohio State University athletic director Gene Smith said he expects the Buckeyes to be back for workouts on June 8. Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy said in early April he wanted the Cowboys back in Stillwater on May 1.