SEC’s Sankey feels ‘sadness’ as Pac-12 dissolves

  • Heather Dinich, ESPN Elder WriterAug 8, 2023, 07:23 PM ET


    • College football press reporter
    • Signed up with in 2007
    • Graduate of Indiana University

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey stated “there’s a little tinge of unhappiness, most likely more than just a little tint,” to see the Pac-12 on the verge of collapse after more than 100 years of presence, and as the flurry of occasions unfolded recently that eventually left the Pac-12 with 4 groups, “it simply wasn’t among those terrific sensations to operate in college sports in my experience.”

“I take duty where we’ve made relocations,” Sankey stated during a prolonged interview on “The Paul Finebaum Show” on Tuesday. “But there was something various last week about the concerns around the presence of the Pac-12 Conference, given its long and storied history.”

Recently, Washington and Oregon revealed their intent to sign up with the Big Ten, and Arizona, Arizona State and Utah chose to sign up with the Huge 12. The drastic decisions left Washington State, Oregon State, Stanford and Cal searching for a conference house in 2024 if the Pac-12 isn’t capable of piecing itself together again.Sankey said he

called Washington State athletic director Pat Chun and Stanford athletic director Bernard Muir to tell them, “I do not have any options, however I have fantastic compassion.”

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While the Pac-12 was in the middle of uncertainty, Florida State president Richard McCullough told the university’s board of trustees in a public conference that the Seminoles would “extremely seriously” think about leaving the ACC unless there is a radical change to the league’s income distribution model. That of course triggered speculation about where FSU would potentially go, and Sankey was with his conference athletic directors at a Cubs game in Chicago when people started connecting to him about the volatility of everything.

“I’ve suggested publicly that I believe the speculation in some of the pronouncements we have actually seen since that time about development or directional development is problematic,” he said. “Even for me, with the security of the Southeastern Conference, whether it was Friday afternoon or Saturday fielding call, which actually were more discussions, ‘What do you believe’s occurring?’ There’s nobody calling me looking for or demanding entry, [just] a great deal of commentary openly.”

Sankey reiterated his conference isn’t actively hiring any extra schools but stated the league is “constantly attentive” to the shifting collegiate landscape around it. He stated recently, behind the scenes, the conference office had “different types of daily interactions with our schools to state, ‘here’s what we comprehend is occurring.'”

The SEC presidents and chancellors had a videoconference at the end of the week during which Sankey said there was a “truly strong positioning with that group, really clear that there’s not something out there that we need to be grabbing or participating in.”

As the Big Ten now extends from coast to coast, Sankey has actually been firm in his position that the SEC is comfortable with its current geographical footprint.

“We don’t require to be in 4 time zones to generate interest on the West Coast or really around the world,” he stated, “and so that’s been a hallmark. Who understands what will take place, and that’s where I go back to among my original declarations: We’re constantly going to be attentive to what’s happening around us. And possibly there’ll be some chance, but it needs to be a lot of philosophical alignment. And it’s not something where we’re actively out recruiting organizations today.”

Sankey is among 10 FBS commissioners who oversee the format of the College Football Playoff, and he was one of the initial authors of the 12-team format, which will begin in time for the 2024 season. The current design includes the 6 highest-ranked conference champs, plus the next 6 highest-ranked teams.If the Pac-12 dissolves– which lots of sources anticipate it to– the commissioners and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick, who is also on the CFP management committee, would likely revisit how the 12 groups are picked.”I believe it’s smart for us to take an action back and reassess what the format might look like provided these changes and situations,” Sankey stated. “We’ve not met on that, I have actually not had any meaningful conversations, but I think we have to acknowledge that it is on everyone’s mind pending the result of some of these additional subscription movement pieces.”Sankey stated he has actually been a supporter long prior to the recent events to look thoroughly at the choices around seeding and area.”Now here we are with more membership motion questions about how many conferences will exist,”he said.

“It simply raises the questions that are not completely back to a starting point about conference champion gain access to, about how a bracket is seeded, particularly the change around Notre Dame remaining an independent not having that top-four seed status. Those matters truly require to be dug into and comprehended.”

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