HOMEWOOD — Greg Sankey agrees with Nick Saban on the subject that high school football coaches should be allowed to work summer collegiate camps.
That was one of an array of topics the SEC commissioner discussed Monday afternoon on the campus of Samford University during his annual appearance at the Associated Press Sports Editors regional meeting.
“We do not believe in the removal of the high school coach in the process,” Sankey said.
Under current legislation that passed last summer, high school coaches are not permitted to work a college football summer camp if that coach has a prospect that university might recruit. Rather than risk running afoul of the rule, UA has opted to not have any high school coaches participate in the camp as it had for many years. Saban, as you can imagine, was not a fan of the rule.
Sankey said Saban’s complaint was a common refrain from coaches across the league and that the topic would likely be one of the discussion points at the league’s annual spring meetings in Destin in a couple of months.
Sankey also discussed the FBI probe into college basketball, an investigation that resulted in multiple suspensions in the SEC this season.
“I think there's an appropriate level of concern and attention given what's happened around men's basketball,” Sankey said. “I did not mean and would not imply that I think it's just business as usual. I've seen some observations that, 'Oh wow, we're just back to business as usual. I don't think that's the case. I don't get that sense from our programs and programs nationally. There's a period on that sentence.
“We're now waiting to see the outcome from the Rice commission and what expectations will exist moving forward either around our basketball programs, around enforcement and infractions activity — whatever it may be. There were four sets of issues — interactions with sneaker and apparel companies, interactions with NBA agents. I don’t think there's a time when you can settle in and say, 'OK, everything's fine. We're moving forward.' I think the attention's been raised and the attention will be raised again when that report is released. And then there will probably be a lot of new work in determining how we meet whatever new expectations may exist.”
Given the perception of college basketball, especially as it pertains to recruiting, Sankey was pressed about the topic. Wasn’t it obvious that this type of recruiting was occurring?
“There were concerns about basketball recruiting,” Sankey said. “I will not sit here and say, 'Oh yeah, everybody knew.' I've seen those type of comments and observations I don’t think everybody knew. I think what you've seen today is individuals who made decisions outside the scope of the values around our intercollegiate athletics programs. They made those decisions. You saw plenty of teams that don't have those issues.
“In fact, 98-99 percent of our teams aren't dealing with those types of issues now. But there is clearly a level of attention that's been raised around men's basketball recruiting. But we'll see how we move forward.”
Reach Aaron Suttles at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 205-722-0229.