Greg Sankey talks regionality, revenue sharing and much more
The SEC commissioner is at Bryant-Denny Stadium to watch future member Texas face conference heavyweight Alabama, and he had a few thoughts on his mind.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Greg Sankey was teed up perfectly. Asked what regionality means to the SEC in the age of coast-to-coast conferences, the commissioner deadpanned: “It just means more.”
Sankey, the dean of the power conference commissioner circle, spoke for a half-hour with a small group of reporters Saturday ahead of future SEC member Texas’ matchup with charter SEC member Alabama at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
As has been the case throughout this calendar year, realignment dominated the discussion.
“Tonight is about our future. This is pretty cool,” Sankey said. “And we had an opportunity, we had a few universities interested in a new affiliation. The very first conference (call) with student-athletes after the announcement, they were asking, ‘Can we get this done sooner? We want to play them.’ When we met with our presidents a week after the Big Ten addition of USC and UCLA, very clearly one of presidents said, ‘That’s not who we are.’ Our fans understand our reality, the young people who come here understand our reality.
“I’ve been with two coaches in some of these new conferences who talk about just the logistics of what they’re up against. We’ll have a team (Auburn) play in Berkeley (Calif.) tonight and probably get home Sunday morning, when the sun’s up. So yeah, our region, our fans, our identity matters greatly. But also, I think we’re in a really, really healthy situation. And what’s happened the last two years, really when you dig into it is not a result of — people may have been worried about us, and then acted to add. What we decided was that was the right opportunity and it keeps the same type of connection to our region and our fans.”