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OPINION | WALLY HALL: SEC boss displays no sense of urgency

by Wally Hall | July 19, 2022 at 3:33 a.m.

ATLANTA -- He was presidential in his presentation.

Standing tall, relaxed and confident, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey looked like the most powerful man in college football, and he may well be.

As he did a year ago, he quoted a Bob Dylan lyric, "The times they are a-changin," but that was as specific as he would get about future expansion and Name, Image and Likeness.

The NIL needs fixing, and Sankey thinks the best way to do it would be by Congress with national laws and not state ones.

He was always against states trying to govern NIL, saying the rules need to be uniform, and while a lot of states passed laws, they forgot them.

Sankey said there needs to be oversight, transparency and regulation of the market, and he's right as bidding for players seems to grow more outrageous by the day.

He talked more about expansion without giving any specifics. He said:

"Again, we're comfortable at 16. There's no sense of urgency, no sense of panic. We're not just shooting for a number of affiliations that make us better. Could they be out there? I would never say they're not. I would never say that we will.

"We're going to be evaluating the landscape. I'm not going to speculate. I actually am watching a lot of this activity operating around us, more so than impacting us directly."

He later said the SEC is "thoughtful and nimble."

When asked if he thought Texas and Oklahoma coming to the SEC "trumped" the UCLA and USC move to the Big Ten he quipped, "I'm not sure we want to use the word 'trumped' all the time these days. Got to be careful about that [smiling].

"Yeah, we're in contiguous states, southeast quadrant. I do have a few letters about what 'southeast' means. We are in the southeast quadrant of the United States. Those two additions actually restore rivalries. The Texas-Arkansas game last year was pretty special, but that goes back a long way. Obviously Texas and Texas A&M rivalry will be like our in-state rivalries across the league. You have Missouri and Oklahoma that are a quarter of the Big Eight that are now part of the Southeastern Conference, and the opportunity for Arkansas and Oklahoma to play regularly."

Contiguous was a word he used several times, and while he didn't say it, scheduling for UCLA and USC is going to be a bear, especially in non-revenue states.

Plus, the Los Angeles schools are not used to playing in snowstorms.

Sankey did not mention that there are 10 more states contiguous to the 11 that will comprise the SEC when UT and OU become conference brothers.

Obviously, Sankey is fiercely loyal to the SEC, but there is some speculation that the man who negotiated a $3 billion deal with Disney beginning in 2024 might be the right guy to fix the NCAA.

Mark Emmert has resigned as the NCAA president, and the organization is currently searching for his replacement.

Sankey came to the SEC in 2002 when the league was having NCAA sanctions problems. After he cleared that up, it became obvious he was going to be former SEC Commissioner Mike Slive's hand-picked suggestion for his replacement.

Sankey was unanimously voted in as commissioner by the league presidents in 2015 when Slive retired.

Without giving anything away, he touched on the ongoing discussion of eight or nine conference games, but he did call eight "comfortable," and nine imbalanced.

Of course, he talked about the league's championships in all sports but specifically said if you go back to the BCS era and 1998, six different SEC schools have won football championships.

He was nimble, but mindful that "the times they are a-changin."

Print Headline: SEC boss displays no sense of urgency


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