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Greg Sankey Named Next SEC Commissioner

Mike Slive's right hand man is going to take over next.

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

When Mike Slive announced his intent to retire in 2015, there wasn't much disagreement over who might replace him. Though a few names came up, basically everyone agreed that the most likely candidate was Executive Associate Commissioner Greg Sankey.

Today, the conference made that pick official:

Greg Sankey has been named the eighth commissioner of the Southeastern Conference by the presidents and chancellors of the SEC, it was announced Thursday by Nick Zeppos, chancellor of Vanderbilt University and president of the SEC presidents and chancellors. ...

"The institutions of the Southeastern Conference searched for a commissioner who would carry forward the momentum of success enjoyed by the SEC over the last decade while also possessing a vision for change in the modern era of college athletics," said Zeppos. "Greg Sankey's experience with our institutions, his respect on the national landscape, his understanding of the balance of athletics and academics, and his passion for the welfare of student-athletes make him the perfect leader for the SEC."

Sankey was the commissioner of the Southland Conference before joining the SEC, he's been active within the NCAA, and he's been involved in every major initiative the conference has had in recent years. He'll take over once Slive officially retires on July 31, 2015.

Sankey will take over the SEC at a critical time in its history. The conference is bigger than ever with 14 schools, and it has a television network that it runs with ESPN. The entire construct of college sports has been under attack in the courts in recent years, and there are more cases to go. The Power 5 conferences have autonomy within the NCAA as of this year, and the SEC commissioner will have a considerably say in how they collectively wield it.

Sankey is a continuity pick, as he's coming from within the league and has worked closely with Slive. For as good of shape as the conference is in, it's probably for the best. We wish him the best as he takes over later this year.