SEC, Sankey agree to contract extension through 2026

Sports

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey speaks to reporters during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days Monday, July 19, 2021, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference extended the contract of Commissioner Greg Sankey, whose league is set to grab even more prominence and wealth with the addition of Oklahoma and Texas.

The league announced the extension through 2026 on Thursday, five days after the two traditional football powers accepted invitations to join the SEC starting in 2025, if not earlier.

The league’s presidents and chancellors approved the extension for the 57-year-old Sankey, who became the SEC’s eighth commissioner in 2015. His previous deal was through 2023. The league didn’t disclose financial terms.

“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,” said Georgia President Jere Morehead, who is currently serving as president of the SEC.

“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.”

The SEC managed to hold a 10-game conference-only season in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sankey also completed a 10-year agreement giving ABC and ESPN exclusive broadcast rights to top SEC football and basketball events starting in the 2024-25 academic year. It’s a deal set to become even richer when Oklahoma and Texas become the 15th and 16th members.

“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,” Sankey said.

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