ATLANTA — The start of SEC Media Days means we are getting closer to the start of the football season, which is always one of the most important aspects of this event. Commissioner Greg Sankey starts things off with his ‘State of The SEC,’ followed by multiple coaches discussing the current landscape of their programs.
After sitting through the opening day, here are a few things that stood out from Sankey and the coaches.
I think Sankey pointing out the fact that he wasn’t in some type of hurry to get things done or call the presidents and AD’s in for a meeting stood out the most.
The SEC is sitting in a prime spot right now while other teams around the country are looking for an invite to the big dance, no pun intended. So when the commissioner pointed out his reasonings for taking his time with the news, it was all about him gathering information as well.
“As I visited with our presidents and chancellors and ADs, understand the timing is this news broke June 30. I did not gather that group till the next Wednesday. I wanted to make sure I was learning what was actually happening. But also I didn’t want a story like on Friday, the day after, the SEC presidents are gathering, and you have this ripple effect of they’re going to do something. We wanted to be patient and communicate.
“Again, we’re comfortable at 16. There’s no sense of urgency, no sense of panic,” Sankey added. “We’re not just shooting for a number of affiliations that make us better. Could they be out there? I would never say they’re not. I would never say that we will.”
He was clearly stating that the conference is sitting pretty right now and there is no need to get in a rush to add more teams.
According to multiple sources, the teams have been calling the SEC in regards to potential moves down the road. So, the SEC can sit back and find teams around the Southern demographic that fit what they are trying to accomplish. It’s all good in the Southeastern Conference, and not much will change that.
LSU’s Brian Kelly doesn’t feel feel like they have an NIL problem at the moment, at least that’s what he’s telling us
Taking over a program in a region where you have very few ties can be hard to do, especially coming from one national powerhouse to another. This is what Brian Kelly is currently dealing with in Baton Rouge.
From the outside, it feels as if this program has work to put in, especially if they’re going to try and make up ground quickly.
One of those components is NIL, which in all honesty, LSU shouldn’t have any type of problem with. When talking about his ‘fit’ in the South, Kelly didn’t see it as a problem.
“Well, I think fit is about the ability to run a program at the highest level. I’ve done it for 32 years. I’ve had success at Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Central Michigan, wherever I’ve been. So running a program and then player development, I think those are the most important things.
“I don’t think that needs to be geographical in a sense. I’ve gotten to love where I’m at in Baton Rouge,” Kelly added. “I love the people. They love football. They love family. They love food. That fits me really well. I guess I should have been in the South all along.”
In terms of NIL, Kelly is steadfast that he doesn’t see a problem with how it’s currently being handled at LSU.
“First of all, I don’t know that we don’t have as many funds. Nobody has given me any kind of documentation that we’re behind. I feel very comfortable, quite honestly, as I stand here talking to you that what we’re doing relative to NIL is as competitive as anybody else.
“I don’t feel like we’re being out-bid by anybody,” Kelly added. “I don’t think that’s the place of NIL anyway. So if we were being out-bid, then we’re going to be out-bid if we have $50 million in our collective.”
Kiffin compared it to a MLB payroll is an interesting take, but he makes good points. Also, Kiffin is the only coach that will really come out and say what it is, even though he’s participating.
“Well, the first question is the keys to NIL and how do you well with that. You have really good boosters. That’s how you do well at it. I’ll say what other people say, as you know. It’s like a payroll in baseball. What teams win over a long period of time? Teams that have high payrolls and can play players a lot.
“We’re in a situation not any different than that. I’m sure other people said it,” Kiffin added. “I said day one, you legalize cheating, so get ready for the people that have the most money to get players. Now you have it. It is what it is.”
Eli Drinkwitz discusses the strength of the SEC East. Also, did he go full ‘Homer Simpson’?
“My hope is that we don’t lose sight of that moving forward with college football and college athletics,” he said. “I know that the college football world and college athletics is changing. For any of you Simpson fans, I’m not the old man yelling at the clouds that we want to go back to the way it was.”
On the Strength of the SEC East
“Well, we have the defending national champion on our side. So that’s a plus. You got Kentucky, Florida, obviously Tennessee is a program on the rise. Coach Beamer is doing an excellent job at South Carolina. I think Coach Lee is a tremendous football coach and has a direction for the program that he wants.
“Obviously I think it’s a strong league,” Drinkwitz added. “I mean, every time you turn on the tape you’re facing a guy that’s going to play in the NFL and probably get drafted in the first two rounds.”
We will see what Day 2 brings us in Atlanta.
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