“We’ve got to have better outcomes from our governing structure. I am highly concerned that we are not as effective as we need to be in our current environment,” Sankey tells SI.
“Driving things at the Board of Governors level is not making this enterprise more healthy and continuing along the same thought, assigning things to big committees that take two years to come to conclusions.”
Even before last week, when NCAA president Mark Emmert expressed his interest in a decentralized NCAA in comments to three select media outlets, wheels behind college athletics’ most powerful people—the conference commissioners—were already turning. Some commissioners were planning to open their individual media days this week with remarks about this exact subject—that NCAA governance change is needed—but Emmert leapt ahead of them, a potential act to save face in a battle he lost long ago.
Here from Hoover, a suburb of Birmingham, Sankey will give his annual state of the league to kick off SEC media days. Later this week, commissioners in the ACC, Big Ten, MAC and others will do the same.
All around them, the chorus of change is louder than ever, administrators say. In fact, one athletic director believes that a new governance model can be created and adopted within two years.
“The leaders in the industry are becoming much more vocal about it,” a high-placed NCAA official tells SI. “That tells me something. That tells me that maybe things are moving behind the scenes faster than you think.”
I will be very curious to hear if Sankey uses his convenient platform at this week’s SEC Media Days to level any pointed criticism in the NCAA’s direction.
In the meantime, if you want to know how bad things have gotten…
“The frustration just builds and builds and builds to a breaking point,” says Greg McGarity, the longtime athletic director at Georgia who is now the CEO of the Taxslayer Bowl. “The tough thing is, what’s the alternative? If not this, what’s it look like? I’m sure a lot of smart people are looking at another model.”
If you’ve lost Greg McGarity (!), the living embodiment of a milquetoast when it came to all things NCAA, you’re screwed.