Greg Sankey speaks during the NCAA college football Southeastern Conference Media Days at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham-Wynfrey Hotel, Monday, July 15, 2019, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey opens 2019 SEC Media Days

There are big changes coming to the Southeastern Conference. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey made it a point to embrace those changes.

Commissioner Sankey opened up the 2019 SEC Media Days in Hoover, Alabama, on Monday. He had some important insight on the upcoming 2019 season. During his time at the podium, he discussed the future of SEC Media Days to kick off the conference.

“Next year, after our success in Atlanta last year, we will return to Atlanta for football media days,” he said. “Media Days will stay on the move in 2021, and we will go to Music City and enjoy the new Grand Hyatt Nashville for Media Days.”

Sankey, who emphasized the importance of moving the locations of Media Days, expressed his excitement on Twitter.

Sports Gambling in the SEC

Sankey discussed organized gambling in college athletics, as well.While Sankey did not say he approves of sports betting, he made sure to say college sports betting needs regulations. Sankey is looking for federal intervention on gambling.

“What is needed now is for our state and federal legislative leaders to enact policies, oversight and to fund enforcement of those policies and laws,” he said.

For Sankey, regulation will help preserve the integrity of sporting events. He said it would also be in the best interest of the players and their respective college campuses.

As long as the rules and regulations in place remain constant, Sankey’s concerns will persist.

Mental Health in Sports

Sankey then moved on to mental health among student athletes. He expressed his growing concern over students struggling with mental health, and how the SEC has been approached by players in need over the past decade.

“At every meeting, student athletes themselves ask to discuss issues around mental health,” he said. “They share their stories; the stories of their colleagues both those on their team, those within the conference and those outside the conference.”

Sankey continued to talk about the stigmas around mental health, and how mental health issues affect everyone. He was proud to say the SEC offers constant support for its students, and that the conference offers as much or more support than the rest of the schools in the nation.

According to Sankey, the SEC will continue its support of students in need of mental health assistance by creating formal, open discussions about the issue.

Officiating in the SEC

The quality of officiating in college sports has been a topic of concern among teams and fans alike. With today’s advanced technology and new camera angles, sports officials are under more heat than ever. Sankey took the time on Monday to come to the defense of SEC referees and praise their performance.

“The SEC office is committed to supporting the highest quality officiating program,” he said.

Sankey went on to say the SEC will not settle with where the state of officiating is at, and will constantly seek improvement. Maintaining the integrity of the game, improving the quality of play on the field and easing the tension between coaches and officials are all important motivators in improving college officiating.

Sankey said coaches and officials met in the off-season to have an open discussion and settle past issues. He says the dialogue will continue in order to create a good relationship between SEC coaches and referees.

Looking Ahead

Sankey and the rest of the SEC are excited for the Florida Gators vs. Miami Hurricanes game on Aug. 24. With this matchup, the SEC will help kick off the 150th season of college football.

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