What SEC’s Greg Sankey said Tuesday about conference realignment

Tribune Content Agency

DESTIN, Fla. — The waves of conference realignment are easy to spot at this week’s SEC spring meetings. Oklahoma and Texas don’t join the league until next July, but their athletic directors were both walking around the Hilton Sandestin on Tuesday afternoon and have non-voting roles in meetings.

Which leads to the obvious question: When will realignment hit the SEC again?

Commissioner Greg Sankey said it’s not something his conference is thinking about, even to the point of discussing what the SEC will think about when the next realignment dominoes fall.

“It’s really not an active thought process,” Sankey said Tuesday after the first day of meetings. “Period on the end of the sentence. We are, though, highly attentive to what’s happening around us.”

What’s happening around the country is some level of instability. The Pac-12′s future seems in doubt until that league signs a new media rights deal. The Big 12 has openly said it’s receptive to adding more teams to become a national league. A Florida State trustee asked about leaving the ACC during a board meeting earlier this year.

Which makes the SEC’s calm noteworthy. Sankey has said his conference’s focus is on 16 teams — the number it will have when Texas and Oklahoma join in July 2024. He said he believes he has a “responsibility” not to publicly say the SEC is pursuing members.

“Go back to those who have spoken and the tumult that causes,” Sankey said.

The tumult has shaken the Pac-12, with continued speculation that Colorado could soon leave to rejoin the Big 12. Even if that move never materializes — and it might not — the rumors have a major impact on that school and others, like Arizona, Arizona State and Utah.

Which is why you shouldn’t expect to hear any more realignment rumblings out of the SEC this week.