HOOVER | The annual SEC state of the union, delivered by commissioner Greg Sankey, served as an opportunity to deflate at least one recent trite conversation, which was fueled by an offseason of discontent by at least one conference member.
Although Auburn University Athletics Director Jay Jacobs and former AU head coach Pat Dye publicly expressed the willingness for their athletics program to move from the SEC West to the SEC East, it’s never been an official topic of conversation for the league. It was, however, much discussed after those gentlemen initiated the conversation.
Sankey, for the second time since the spring, shot down any such notion.
“(It) has not been an agenda item in the meeting,” Sankey said. “It is a conversation in most large press conferences in which I appear, and that’s the extent of the conversation.”
The commissioner also spent time discussing a 14-week season, which would come with two bye weeks instead of the standard one.
When up for discussion at the annual SEC Spring Meetings, coaches didn’t express much desire for a common reason: it would extend the season.
“I want to be clear about the perspective that came out of those conversations,” Sankey said. “There’s not opposition here to a 14-week season. There’s curiosity and interest. There are two important points that were communicated; one, we don’t want to see practice begin even earlier in the summer. It moves back this year a few days because of the health and safety changes introduced.
“As I understand the start dates for practice, not everybody moves back a week. There is sensitivity to student athletes who are completing summer school and not adding further interruption to their process. There’s also an interest in keeping the number of preparatory practice opportunities. The number is 29 right now, and we’ll do the math at the podium for you. Not all of our programs use those 29 opportunities, but all were clear that they wanted that flexibility if the situation dictated that that was appropriate to be used.
“We’re open to those ideas.”