Jul 18, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; SEC commissioner Greg Sankey delivers comments to open SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Commish: SEC not planning reactionary expansion

No plans are being shaped by reconstruction of other conferences, commissioner Greg Sankey said regarding the makeup of the Southeastern Conference.

Sankey, who opened SEC Media Days in Atlanta with a press conference on Monday, said there is no conference as strong as the SEC — which is “as strong as ever,” in his opinion.

With the SEC set to expand to 16 teams in 2025, if not before, by adding Texas and Oklahoma, the Big Ten set its own realignment in motion by bringing aboard UCLA and Southern Cal in a move announced last month.

“We’re comfortable at 16,” Sankey said. “There’s no sense of urgency; there’s no sense of panic. We’re not just shooting for a number of affiliations that make us better. Could they be out there? I’d never say they aren’t, and I’d never say they are.”

Sankey said the time is now for groupthink among conference heads and college sports decision-makers before the land-grab mindset takes hold.

“We’re dealing with complex problems that won’t be solved with complaints, by accusations, by finger-pointing, by offering simple solutions,” Sankey said. “What is needed now is collaboration, deep thinking about real-world solutions with everyone participating in the conversation.”

Unwilling to divulge all of his cards, Sankey did confess he hears from other teams in various conferences asking for an assessment of their worthiness to be in the SEC. Reports circulated last month that Clemson, North Carolina and Notre Dame had been in contact with the SEC. Sankey said that is simply the current state of college football.

But while he has his listening ears on, Sankey said the SEC must decide what it has to gain.

“I’m not trying to be a smart-aleck guy, but we are a superleague,” Sankey said.

–Field Level Media

Oct 20, 2018; Knoxville, TN, USA; The SEC logo on the field at Neyland Stadium before a game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Alabama Crimson Tide. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

SEC adds Dec. 19 makeup date to football schedule

The Southeastern Conference will add Dec. 19 as a makeup date for football games that have been postponed, commissioner Greg Sankey announced Friday.

The conference championship game is slated for that day at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and will remain as scheduled. The College Football Playoff selection committee announces its final rankings of the season on Dec. 20.

With the additional date, teams not participating in the championship game will be eligible to make up games rescheduled during the remaining weeks of the 2020 season.

The conference planned ahead and added a Dec. 12 makeup slot. But for some teams, that date already has been filled in, meaning a second postponement cannot be rescheduled without a second date.

Four SEC games set for this weekend were postponed.

The Missouri-Georgia game was one of them. Missouri already saw its Oct. 17 game against Vanderbilt postponed and moved to Dec. 12. The extra date will allow the conference the flexibility to try to make up the Georgia game.

The conference also said it could revise the weekly football schedule up to 9 p.m. ET on the Monday prior a game scheduled for Saturday games to maximize the number of games each program can play. Games eligible for rescheduling can only be part of a team’s original schedule and between opponents who have not met in 2020.

“It has been a goal of the SEC to play a complete football schedule provided we maintain a healthy environment for student-athletes and everyone around our football programs,” Sankey said. “The added flexibility of a December 19 playing date for teams that do not qualify for the SEC Football Championship and the ability to adjust opponents on five-day notification provide a greater opportunity for our schools to play a full schedule of games in 2020.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 26, 2020; Columbia, South Carolina, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Jeremy Pruitt celebrates after a touchdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Williams-Brice Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

SEC to coaches, staff: Wear your masks

Television cameras last weekend captured images of a number of coaches and others on the sidelines during Southeastern Conference games not wearing face coverings, as required.

Commissioner Greg Sankey doesn’t want to see those pictures again.

ESPN reported Friday that Sankey sent a two-page memo to conference schools to remind coaches, staff and players who aren’t in the game they must wear masks on the sidelines during games. Failure to follow the conference’s COVID-19 rules could result in “additional action,” according to the memo.

“This past weekend, many fulfilled the requirements established by the Task Force and your commitment to these new requirements are appreciated,” the memo read, per ESPN. “Others, including some head coaches, assistant coaches, support staff and student-athletes need clear reminders of the requirement they fulfill the new health protocols intended to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19.”

The memo included a reminder that masks must cover both the mouth and nose.

“We will continue to monitor games and will take additional action, if necessary, to ensure adherence to the approved Task Force requirements as we all work to maintain a healthy environment for everyone around our games,” the memo said.

–Field Level Media