Greg Sankey held forth in Hoover, Ala., on Monday at his first SEC Media Days as league Commissioner, and his prepared remarks indicate a firm commitment to the future image of the conference. Sankey said that he was "proud" of renewed statements from Ole Miss and Mississippi State in denouncing the anachronism of the Confederate banner's inclusion on the state flag, though whether a freshman SEC Commissioner's opinion on the matter has any teeth in Jackson remains a matter of airy speculation. To wit:
"... And last week, we saw change in Columbia, South Carolina, as the state government acted to remove the Confederate battle flag from the State Capitol grounds. On that point, I am particularly proud of the leadership demonstrated on our campuses in the states at the center of this debate. South Carolina President Harris Pastides; University of Mississippi interim Chancellor Morris Stocks; and Mississippi State University's President Mark Keenum, along with their athletics directors and coaches, have all stated their desire for change. The times, they are changing, and the times will continue to change as we move forward."
(You can read the full transcript of Commissioner Sankey's address here.)
Sankey further quoted Bob Dylan's "come writers and critics, who prophesize with your pen, and keep your eyes wide open: the chance won't come again," in reference to his succession of previous SEC chief Mike Slive on June 1st. Whereas Slive preferred Winston Churchill koans, Sankey enjoys U2 and considers himself "better at Google." He further plugged his updated Twitter account and avatar, which now features the conference logo on a tractor tire. Somewhere Tim Tebow wonders why he never thought of that.
Among other boilerplate points of order, Sankey obliquely addressed the "offseason issues" beelzebub and disagreed that student-athlete conduct problems arise from a lack of coaches' involvement in players' lives. The Commissioner instead postulated a "working group" model to consider offseason and off-the-field incidents in a more "global" fashion.
Sankey joked that he'd be thrilled to see four SEC teams in the College Football Playoff, but vowed that "at least one team" will reach the bracket of four this postseason. He remained politic, however, and declined predicting which team that would be.