What SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey Said About Future SEC Football Planning
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey spoke about future SEC football planning following the conclusion of spring meetings in Florida.
Nick Kelly, Nashville, Tennessee
MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. — A common line used by SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey during this week’s spring meetings was, “We’ll see.”
He met with reporters at the Hilton Sandestin three separate days during the week and was usually asked for updates on the future of SEC football planning.
“Let’s see,” was his response then, and it was his response on Friday after the sessions ended.
There has been much debate among SEC football coaches, athletic directors, presidents, and chancellors, but no decision has been made on the future of SEC football planning.
Eventually, planning will have to be adjusted as Oklahoma and Texas will attend the conference in 2025, but the time to make a decision wasn’t this week.
“I really narrowed it down to a few options,” Sankey said. “You never know what might come up if we dig deeper.”
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The focus for now remains on either an eight or nine conference game schedule with a one-division structure. That would be a change from the current structure of two divisions with eight conference games.
Sankey said the next step is working on answering some questions that have been raised and seeking clarity on matters over the summer.
“Look at the results in late summer, maybe fall,” Sankey said.
But the commissioner noted that the timeline is not his. Instead, it is up to the institutions and their needs for future planning. Texas and Oklahoma were brought into the conversation, but they are not currently voting members.
“So we’re going to continue with this research and this analysis and this discussion,” Sankey said.
Since the groups had the discussion earlier in the week, waiting for a decision on Wednesday became clear as the right move, he said.
However, Sankey said earlier in the week that the conference was ready to make a decision.
What has changed?
“We had kind of a new set of questions, or a set of questions that were maybe phrased from a slightly different perspective that made it appropriate not to act,” Sankey said. “So being ready and then acting are two different things.”
The college football playoffs also play a role in these decisions. The 12-year contract expires after the 2025 season, after which there is no clear path. It could be resolved in the next calendar year, but Sankey said he doesn’t think there’s an interest in letting an SEC football scheduling decision go into the next calendar year.
Other factors that go into planning decisions include existing non-conference contracts, media partnerships and logistics such as balanced home and away games.
Once a decision has been made on eight or nine conference games, a further decision will be made on how those games will be determined. Will it be a permanent SEC opponent with seven rotating? Three permanent and six rotating? Or something else?
“We still have something to do,” said Sankey.