Sankey debuts at SEC Media Days

New SEC commissioner Greg Sankey stated his case Monday on several hot-button issues, including satellite camps, cost of attendance and the Power Five's relationship with the NCAA.

HOOVER, Ala. – Four months ago during the SEC Basketball Tournament in Nashville, Greg Sankey was announced as the SEC commissioner-elect, the successor to Mike Slive.

On Monday in north Alabama, Sankey, whose tenure officially began June 1, made his debut at the 2015 SEC Football Media Days.


Scout's Ben Love and Annabel Stephan talk Sankey in Hoover

Among the biggest topics Sankey discussed is the notion of satellite camps, a hot-button issue of late that's created a tug of war between the SEC and other conferences.

While sideline bosses like Michigan's Jim Harbaugh of the Big Ten are serving as guests speakers and coaches at defacto recruiting camps outside of their regional footprint, the SEC is still prohibiting its coaches from following suit.

For now at least, Sankey warned.

"Our coaches for my entire tenure here have talked about trying to protect summertime," explained Sankey. "There is recruiting that takes place. There are summer camps that take place. What has happened recently has escalated that. And our decision process in Destin said 'We want this recruiting tour approach to stop.' If it does not stop we will fully engage and engage well in that behavior. But it doesn't seem healthy. There is no break."

Sankey also faced a barrage of inquiries about cost of attendance, a stipend of sorts meant to more fully compensate student-athletes.

He pointed out that concept is actually not a new one and opined that differing costs of attendance between universities - there is a difference of almost $3,500 across some SEC institutions - shouldn't constitute a recruiting advantage or disadvantage.

"Cost of attendance is defined by the Higher Education Act that allows flexibility. There are 10 or 12 components (to it)," Sankey said. "That's not been a secret. That cost of attendance definition has existed for years. I think we'll see what variability means. It costs more to go to certain universities. There are different expenses incurred by individuals.

"I read two to three articles over the weekend where young people who are currently being recruited said 'Well the difference (between schools' costs of attendance) won't make a difference to me. I'm going to decide on separate factors.'"

Off-the-field behavioral issues were part of his speaking agenda Monday as well, with Sankey laying most of the responsibility at the feet of the student-athletes and especially coaches.

Finally, he addressed conference autonomy, updating one of last summer's major storylines in Hoover.

"One of the good developments since (last summer) is the decision-making opportunity provided to the five conferences - the ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac 12 and SEC," he concluded. "The way that was deployed in January, I think, showed a level of attention to responsibility and, frankly, sensitivity. Even though it's different, I think that's a step forward.

"There is a presidential summit, which I'll be a part of in August, where I think we'll develop the conversation."

Those theorists who believe the Power Five conferences will eventually break away from the NCAA and current student-athlete model will have to wait for another day for Sankey to tip his cap to that end.

For now he's got more pressing issues to tend to, and Sankey began his public campaign on several of those fronts at the annual SEC Media Days circus Monday.



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