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Mike Slive Retirement Effective June 1; Greg Sankey Takes Over Next Week

Perhaps the most effective SEC commissioner in history has decided that he's going to retire just a few weeks early

John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

When Mike Slive originally announced he would retire, his last day on the job was set to be July 31. That was, after all, when his contract would be up and a month before the football season. It was about as good a time as any for Greg Sankey -- the man eventually named as Slive's successor -- to take the helm of the conference.

But with the SEC meetings underway in Destin this week, Slive has announced a change of plans.

In practical terms, it makes very little difference. Sankey is still taking over a financially successful conference at a time of minimum risk, with the athletic year pretty much over except for a few sports like baseball and softball and plenty of time to get ready for football. Symbolically, it also means that Sankey will have the stage all to himself at SEC Media Days -- something that probably isn't accidental. Mike Slive doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who wants a high-profile valedictory where he's supposed to wax poetic about his years at the helm of the conference.

Instead, Sankey gets to go through the Media Days "brag bag" -- an annual ritual that Slive relished -- and become his own man that much more quickly. Slive's riding off into the sunset a little earlier isn't what anyone expected. But perhaps, as long as we in the SEC have gotten to observe Mike Slive, the question is why we expected anything different.