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Commish: SEC not planning reactionary expansion

Sportsnaut
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
Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

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