SEC Three: Trio of league leaders discuss conference

first_imgCOLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey recalled when he knew for certain his life had dramatically changed: A woman charged him at the league’s football media days asking for an autograph on an 8×10 glossy of himself.“It doesn’t stop,” said Sankey, less than four months into his new job. “I knew that, but I didn’t know that.”Sankey’s two predecessors, Roy Kramer and Mike Slive, grinned knowingly Friday. All three were on hand for a panel discussion to celebrate the 25th anniversary of South Carolina accepting membership into the conference.The three, along with University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides, shared stories of past successes, the Gamecocks growth in the SEC and where the 14-team conference is headed with Sankey in charge.Kramer is credited with bringing the conference championship into big time college football as commissioner from 1990 until 2002. Slive’s legacy will be establishing the SEC Network, which he proudly told the audience had jumped to 70 million households in the past year, an increase of five million from its 2014 launch in climate where other cable networks are shedding subscribers.Under Slive’s leadership, the SEC cleaned up much of its rogue reputation as a rules-breaking league whose schools were continually on probation. He also navigated conference schools through the choppy waters of autonomy, cost of attendance stipends and other NCAA governance issues.Sankey understands he has perhaps even bigger and stickier issues ahead. There are several lawsuits that could affect the school-student athlete relationship permanently and the league must be ready for anything.“While we’re not perfect in college athletics, we don things exceedingly well,” he said.Sankey will look for the SEC to do more in areas of athlete health and wellness, continuing oversight to injured or affected players beyond their college days.“We can improve what we do in all those domains,” Sankey said.Kramer recalled when the call went out that the SEC was looking to expand. After adding Arkansas a few weeks earlier and several site visits to South Carolina, the school’s board of trustees voted on Sept. 25, 1990, to accept the SEC’s invitation as the 12th member.When then interim university president Arthur Smith called Kramer with the news, he urged the commissioner to announce things as quickly as possible because Smith feared the trustees would spill the beans to the media. So Kramer flew in from Alabama headquarters and the announcement came at the stadium that evening.“It was one of the most memorable nights,” Kramer said.Pastides said the SEC brought the Gamecocks a credibility and allure that increased applications, enrollment and the university’s financial bottom line. “That can’t be overstated,” he said.Slive oversaw a time of tremendous athletic success. The SEC won seven consecutive football national championships from 2006 through 2012. South Carolina was a baseball power, going to the College World Series six times and winning national titles in 2010 and 2011 during Slive’s tenure.“We’ve lived through a golden age,” Slive said.The issues ahead might not be as clear-cut as those recently completed like building the SEC Network or achieving cost-of-attendance stipends, Sankey said. He plans to keep on identifying areas of need and making sure the SEC remains at the forefront of giving college athletes a first-rate experience.“We’ve drilled a lot of the easy oil,” Sankey said. “Now, we have to manage the resources.”last_img read more

Jack Grealish faces £50k fine as Aston Villa probe latest ‘hippy crack’ incident

first_img Jack Grealish in action for Aston Villa Aston Villa boss Roberto Di Matteo says an investigation into an incident involving Jack Grealish is ongoing.The 21-year-old was reported to have held a rowdy late-night party at a Birmingham hotel following his side’s 0-0 draw with Ipswich Town on Saturday.According to the Daily Mail, balloons containing nitrous oxide, known as hippy crack, were found in the room and police were called to halt the bash.It is not the first time Grealish’s off-field behaviour has been called into question.The youngster was forced to apologise to then-Villa boss Tim Sherwood early in 2015 after pictures emerged of him inhaling from balloons.He was subsequently pictured that summer drunk and sprawled out on a road while on holiday in Tenerife.Grealish, who has made eight appearances for the Championship side this season, could be facing a fine of two weeks’ wages – around £50,000 – for his latest indiscretion. 1last_img read more

Paul Hartley: I expect Dundee to maintain level reached at Hamilton

first_imgDundee manger Paul Hartley says his side deserved their win but warned it will count for nothing if they lack fight in their coming games.The Dark Blues ended their winless run at New Douglas Park, claiming a 1-0 win over Hamilton Accies with Paul McGowan’s goal proving the difference.Hartley pointed out how he now expects Dundee to reach these levels from now until the end of the season.“That’s the minimum we expect from them now, the players know that, they’re a great bunch of players to work with – they’re honest, and just haven’t had the results,” he said. “That was a different Dundee and we’re going to be looking for that between now and the end of the season. We have to fight for every result. We might not always win, but as long as I see on the pitch what I saw there I’ll be happy.“I’m delighted for the players – we deserved that, we fought, we stuck together and I’m pleased for the group.“We had a good week, in terms of speaking, and some good stuff on the training pitch. We were all honest with each other, said we’re going to fix it together, and we’re going to fight every week, and every day in training – I don’t mean punches, but to fight together and show a real desire and attitude.“That was a different Dundee team, a team that wanted it, the attitude was great, and all over the pitch, in every department, we deserved that.”last_img read more