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Alumnus to Lead Southeastern Conference

Alumnus to Lead Southeastern Conference

03/13/2015 

Greg Sankey ’87, a SUNY Cortland graduate and a highly regarded mind in college athletics, was selected to lead the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) Southeastern Conference (SEC) March 12.

The former physical education major and Auburn, N.Y., native will succeed Mike Slive as commissioner Aug. 1 after serving more than two years as the SEC’s executive associate commissioner and chief operating officer — essentially the conference’s second-in-charge.

Sankey returned to the College this past fall for a two-day executive-in-residence stay, speaking to students about current topics in college athletics. As commissioner, he’ll be one of the most visible leaders in the NCAA and will lead one of its most powerful athletic conferences. The SEC produced college football’s national champion seven consecutive years from 2006 to 2012.

Following the announcement, presidents and chancellors of SEC institutions praised Sankey as one of the best leaders and sharpest administrative minds in college athletics. He’s in his 13th year with the SEC and has proven to be an integral part of the conference’s efforts to rethink its governance, enforcement and compliance program. He also has overseen the SEC’s championships staff.

Even high-profile coaches, from University of Florida men’s basketball coach Billy Donovan to Louisiana State University football coach Les Miles, expressed their support of Sankey’s promotion.

Sankey is active within the NCAA committee structure, which includes his service on the Division I Legislative Council, Committee on Academic Performance and the NCAA Committee on Infractions, which he currently chairs. In June, he offered testimony in the historic O’Bannon v. NCAA case regarding compensation for student athletes.

Prior to joining the SEC staff, Sankey served as commissioner of the Southland Conference for nearly seven years. He joined the Southland Conference staff in 1992 and worked as both assistant and associate commissioner before he was named commissioner in 1996, when he was just 31 years old.

He directed compliance and academic services at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La., prior to that. While at Northwestern State, Sankey also coached the university’s golf teams for two years. His career in college athletics began at Utica College, where he directed intramural sports.

Sankey, a former baseball player and an avid marathon runner, earned his master’s degree from Syracuse University. He resides in Birmingham, Ala., with his family.