A week after orchestrating the additions of two new member programs in Texas and Oklahoma, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey finalized a contract extension to keep him at the helm through 2026, the league announced Thursday.
The extension was approved by the SEC’s 14 presidents and chancellors.
Sankey, 57, has been the SEC commissioner since June 1, 2015, when he replaced late mentor and longtime commissioner Mike Slive.
“College athletics is in the midst of a transformational period, and the SEC is fortunate to have a highly impactful leader to guide us forward at this critical time in our history,” Jere Morehead, President of the University of Georgia and current President of the SEC, said in a statement released by the league. “He has effectively introduced change and advancement for the conference while respecting the institutional traditions that make the SEC unique. His leadership and ability to foster collaboration through the COVID-19 pandemic helped establish a framework for all of college sports, and those leadership skills will be critical as we move forward with change in the years ahead.”
Sankey spearheaded SEC COVID response
Over the past 18 months alone, Sankey has guided the SEC through the COVID-19 pandemic and prepared for a return to action in the fall of 2020. He launched the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice, a league-wide body consisting of a diverse group of student-athletes, administrators, coaches and SEC staff. He also finalized a milestone 10-year agreement with the Walt Disney Company that grants ABC and ESPN exclusive broadcast rights to premier SEC football and basketball events beginning in 2024-25 and continuing through 2033-34.
“I am grateful for the support of the SEC’s presidents and chancellors, and for the continuing opportunity to serve our universities while supporting the student-athletes of the Southeastern Conference,” Sankey said in the statement. “We are in the midst of a time of change for college athletics, and I look forward to working with the SEC’s campus leaders to identify a path forward that will sustain the incredible success of our Conference and provide opportunities for young people to grow academically and challenge themselves athletically.”
SEC expanding in 2025
Recently, the SEC announced it will add both Oklahoma and Texas to the league beginning in 2025. The expansion, the third in the conference’s 88-year history, will bring the SEC to 16 member universities across a 12-state footprint.
Before joining the SEC in 2002, Sankey served as commissioner of the Southland Conference for nearly seven years. He joined the Southland Conference staff in 1992 where he served as both assistant and associate commissioner before he was named its commissioner in 1996 at the age of 31.
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