Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey opened the week of 2023 SEC Media Days from Nashville, TN on Monday, pointing out the unparalleled success that the conference is currently enjoying and its place in the college football world…squarely at the top… and marked the event as the league’s final SEC Media Days as a 14-team league as Oklahoma and Texas are poised to join the conference in 2024.

The first big topic Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey discussed that caught my attention was NIL. The Commissioner began by stating any discussions he’s been involved in around the active concept of student-athletes receiving economic benefit from their use of their name, image, and likeness is “not about taking away. Not about taking away these new name, image, and likeness

Sankey went on to speak to “the stories told and others not told — of promises made but not fulfilled, of inducements offered but not provided, of empty commitments of NIL agreements that created more questions than provided answers, and other behaviors in
this space that rightly cause concern.”

“The reality is our student-athletes deserve something better than a patchwork of state laws that support their name, image, and likeness activities, if support is the right
word. Our student-athletes deserve something better than a race to the bottom at the state legislature level. As the efforts are made to create what are perceived as a competitive edge through state laws that are not overseen.

Future student-athletes, those who right now might be 15 or 16 or 17 years old, they deserve something better than to need to sort through a fully unregulated marketplace, being approached by individuals who present themselves as something that they may not be, where anyone can purchase card stock and run it through a printer and call themselves an agent on a business card, and then engage in making offers to young people that are neither transparent, that do not include protections that many of us would expect to be normal. It makes it difficult for young people to both understand and navigate this free for all as they’re trying to make life-guarding and life-changing decisions.”

Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey discussed declares the focus for the future of the SEC Football Championship game is in Atlanta, saying “We are going to focus our football game on what is really the envy of the college football championship world, and that’s what we do in Atlanta.”

Sankey called for the enforcement of gaming regulations and protection of participants in all states with legalized gambling, and then touched on one of the hottest topics across the landscape of college football…conference realignment and expansion. The Commissioner concluded his remarks with this statement.

“Do I think it’s done? People will say, well, I get to decide that,” Sankey said. “Right now it appears others are going to decide that before we have to make any decisions.”

“My view is we know who we are. We’re comfortable as a league. We’re focused on our growth to 16. We’ve restored rivalries. We’re geographically contiguous with the right kind of philosophical alignment, and we can stay at that level of super conference.”



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