Greg Sankey would ‘welcome’ national standard for college sports

DESTIN, Fla. — Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Greg Sankey explained in layman’s terms Monday evening what congressional aid to college sports could look like, saying college sports are “a national system worthy of national standards.”

In his opening remarks at the SEC’s annual meetings here, Sankey addressed what college sports could look like in the wake of the power-five conferences and the NCAA agreeing to settle three antitrust cases.

As terms of the settlement were reached in recent weeks, college sports officials cautioned that it should not be viewed as a magic bullet for issues — legal and otherwise — in college sports. Rather, it is just the beginning of a new era in which schools share revenues with athletes.

“I believe Congress still has an opportunity to use the structure of this settlement to enact legislation to advance the future of college sports,” Sankey said.

Sankey said he has visited Washington, D.C., at least five times this year. He added that as he enters his 10th year as SEC commissioner, one significant change is the number of members of Congress on his phone. He described the effort as evolving from “curiosity” to “a little interest,” and that teaching what was needed would be “constant repetition.”

“I welcome action between now and the election,” Sankey said. “Most people I talk to say that’s unlikely, so your education will continue after the election and will depend on who leads each party in the House and Senate, where the majority is, and who occupies the White House. These facts guide the conversations.”

“So as unpredictable as it was, I think it will continue to be unpredictable.”

Any action by Congress would likely include components of base nationalization and avoiding the current patchwork of state laws. It is expected that some, but not all, of this ambiguity will be alleviated through settlement. But Sankey noted that employment remains a thorny issue, and a group usually needs to obtain employee status to be able to bargain collectively.

“The breadth of the settlement is intended to give us a way forward and provide a level of clarity about the future that does not automatically include hiring,” he added.

Sankey said he has never had a student come up to him and say he wants to “be that way.” [taxed] Like a lawyer.”

He added, “There are those who advocate for that reality. And that brings me back to the basic statement, which is that there is no better time to be a student-athlete than right now in the history of college sports. There is no better time than that. They don’t call me and say, ‘I want to Become an employee.

NCAA President Charlie Baker, the former governor of Massachusetts, has been in Washington regularly trying to help gather momentum for the bill. There have been nearly a dozen hearings on college sports in recent years and more than a half-dozen bills have been drafted, but little tangible interest.

“Obviously we’re in an election year,” Sankey said. “Congress is a challenging place to get the job done, and I say that respectfully, there is a lot of work for members of the House and Senate to do.”

Sankey also touched on a number of other issues that will hang over the SEC meetings, including how the SEC will handle the distribution of revenue from the settlement while complying with Title IX. Sankey noted that the SEC won four national championships this year — all in women’s sports. He said the league must “wrestle with this new piece.”

“Our direction was to provide some justice,” he said. “This is a very different world. I expect we will elicit opinions and viewpoints, have time to learn how to learn those viewpoints, and then we will have to work through what that means from a decision-making standpoint.”

The NCAA settlement also raised speculation about capping team roster size as part of the new business model, a prospect that has caused consternation among some football coaches because the 85-player cap would likely eliminate walk-on positions. But Sankey said he told the coaches individually: “Hey, slow down, guys.”

“I know other conferences have discussed this,” he said. “The coaches texted our coaches. They got emotional and we said just wait. We’ll have a conversation. This is the place. Understandable. Understand that football gets attention, but we have 21 sports leagues, all of them that need some level of conversation around this roster piece.”

Sankey also said there “has to be some change” in how the NCAA enforces its rules — and how schools are required to follow them. Now that the terms of the settlement are final, Sankey said he expects the university will look to state laws because they are all written differently.

“There are some options,” he said. “There’s some openness to what that might look like. I’m not going to narrow that down.”

In addition to the important topics surrounding the NCAA settlement, Sankey addressed a wide range of issues that the league will also discuss this week, including player availability reports. It’s a project some staff have been working on since last summer, but Sankey said no decisions are expected this week.

“We don’t want to rush into anything,” he added. “They’re not reports of injuries. They’re completely different circumstances given some of the privacy issues that we have. However, when you start to see the numbers of dollars being wagered on legal sports gambling around college sports — not just football, but men’s and women’s basketball,” he said. . Volleyball, baseball – all of these things attract your attention.

“We have to think about how we manage information.”

ESPN’s Dan Murphy contributed to this report.

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