CHARLOTTE — Jim Phillips had his first chance to take a stand as the ACC’s new commissioner on Wednesday, during the conference’s media kickoff.
Phillips was tasked with answering questions regarding how the ACC plans to move forward with Covid in 2021 and beyond. While he didn’t punt his answer, he didn’t give the same resounding answer that SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey did earlier this week.
Instead, Phillips indicated that the conference wants to wait before deciding on how Covid cases could impact future games. They’d like a little more information before making a memorandum, one way or another.
“As it relates to not making a declaration about if it’s going to be a cancellation or a forfeit, we all really want to wait a couple of more weeks or so,” Phillips said. “I think there’s more information that we’re going to be able to gather.
“I think we’ll understand the variant a little bit. It’s really the recommendation of our medical group, along with our ADs and our presidents. So, there’s direct alignment, at least this week, we didn’t need to make that kind of statement. It will be forthcoming and we certainly will be transparent when that decision is made and we’ll let everybody know.”
He also shed light on what the current vaccination threshold of the conference looks like.
“We had a chance to get with our athletic directors yesterday,” Phillips said. “We have over half of our group is above that 85-percent threshold, with several others on the cusp, and we all feel like that’s a reasonable target across the ACC. So, those are our numbers as of yesterday. And then overall, from the student-athlete population, that number’s even higher according to those schools and then the data that they have currently.”
Phillips said there’s no question that there will be a greater chance to play for the ACC’s student-athletes if they’re vaccinated. He believes in being vaccinated and comes from a long line of health care workers.
With that being said, he’s more so focused on educating the conference’s student-athletes, while reiterating that it’s a “deeply personal decision.”