SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey had just arrived at his lake house on June 30 when he heard that USC and UCLA had decided to move to the Big Ten. “So much for our summer vacation,” he joked with reporters at SEC media days.
However, Sankey said he waited an entire week before convening the conference to talk about their expansion options. He wasn’t concerned that the latest round of realignment precipitated any immediate action.
“We are a Super League,” he said. “This is a Super League.”
The conference is “engaged in conversation” about potential new members. Sankey noted that he gets lots of calls demonstrating interest, but said the conference is content in expanding to 16 teams — and that there’s “no sense of urgency in our league, no panic in our reactions and decisions.”
Sankey was confident the conference’s current members — and the future additions of Texas and Oklahoma in 2025 — make up a conference that is strong and lucrative.
He noted that all SEC schools have similar values, and that the conference makes sense geographically — an implicit dig at the Big Ten, which now spans the country. He also said he was excited about the upcoming media rights deal with Disney, ABC, and ESPN, which was reportedly worth $3 billion even before Texas and Oklahoma joined.
As of now, the future of college sports looks to be one with two Super Leagues.
The Big Ten — which could now command a media rights deal worth up to $1.25 billion — is the other viable contender.
One report suggested that the Big 12 and Pac-12 are considering a merger to compete. The ACC, meanwhile, is pigeonholed with a media deal that doesn’t allow much movement for over a decade.