Marty Smith's America: Greg Sankey


What's up campus conversation listeners? I'm Ryan McGee. Go ahead. And check out. My buddy Marty. Smith's latest podcast in it Marty's joined by SEC Commissioner, Greg Sankey, they talk about playoff expansion pay players and a whole lot more. You like what you hear? Subscribe to Marty. Smith's America, the podcast on the ESPN app? Apple podcasts or your favorite podcast app. Please do it. His drive me. Crazy. Hey, y'all welcome to the party Smith's America podcast with thirty nine. Great, greg. Thank Commissioner of the southeastern conference joins me to discuss all of the variables of his job things that he faces every single day his greatest concerns as he moves forward in that role the greatest challenges that he faces every single day when he sits down in the head office down there in Birmingham, Alabama. What it's like to actually be in that head chair compared to what you think it might be how he got here his amazing journey from Auburn New York where he grew up to Birmingham as the Commissioner of the southeastern conference and not only that we also discuss pressing issues in collegiate athletics today, like potential player compensation his thoughts on whether or not these collegiate players should be compensated for playing major college football or major college basketball. Whether he believes in the current system that is the college football playoff. What is his thoughts on potential expansion? We get into many different things, and it was a fascinating conversation one that really inspired me certainly one that educated me, and is going to have the same impact on you. Look this man, Greg Sankey is in one of the most prestigious most important most scrutinized roles in all of sport in this country Commissioner of the southeastern conference, and what an honor to have the opportunity to spend twenty five or thirty minutes with him really digging into his leadership philosophy his path to now. And what he sees when he looks into the SEC crystal ball moving forward. Here's our conversation on the Marty Smith's America podcast with SEC Commissioner, Greg Sankey. So Greg, let's just start with your path. I don't know that journey house a guy from Auburn New York end up as C Commissioner. How's that work? Well, my quick vision for life was to be coaching and teaching at the high school level, and I ended up right out of college working in a college setting or in the master's at Syracuse had complete an internship did that and Louisiana which was just one of those great adventures in life and then from northwestern state university in nacogdoches Louisiana to their conference office and became Commissioner of that league. The Southland conference at age thirty one. And during that time to know Mike's live mics and upstate New York. I was born and raised in Utica, New York, and we became friends and one day he said, would you ever think about working in the SEC office? And I said I haven't but I will and that put me here and and had some. Some success and opportunities had some chances to leave and then and stayed and then went through a full search process upon Mike's announce retirement, and boom here we are. That's the the quick version. Where could you have gone if you so chosen to leave? You know, I almost there was a a weekend where I was the athletic director Colgate university. I went through that search process actually went up to visit with the trustees, and in some ways, it was a great professional moment in some ways. It was one of those low points on my professional life where I said, you know, what the day of the press conference. This really isn't for me. So those who've seen, you know, Bobby Cremins, Billy Donovan, there's some great people have said. Yeah, that's the right job. And then wait a second. So I pulled one of those was involved in a search min America conference that went down the road along way back in about oh nine and and just decided that wasn't the right situation. A number of things that came to me in college athletics. You know, I've always wanted to work in sports, but in an educational context is opposed to a professional level. And you know, just was always challenged here and was learning every. Day and decided to stay and again that the opportunity to be part of the search for the Commissioner manifested itself. And you know, it's now been over three and a half years in the seat and things are going. Well. I think they're going very well. I think you made the right choice on that path. And I wanna get the philosophy and all that in a minute. But stay in with the theme of growing up. Did you grow up? Syracuse fan. Oh, absolutely. They they made a run at the final four under a head coach name, ROY Danforth. And Jim boeheim was an assistant in nineteen seventy five. It was John wooden last year's coach at UCLA and UCLA one that that final four, and I I was listening on the radio at that time and the big east conference did not exist. They played in. What was called the CAC and went through its turnament format. No much smaller NCA tournament format, but mardi that was when this notion of college sports came alive. I was eleven years old. It was also that year when when I won the cleanest desk award at school, which if you saw my desk right now that was the one month in my life. My desk was clean and the the prize was a book, and I chose they call me coach, which was John wooden biography. I actually still have the book that I won back in sixth grade in nineteen seventy five it's in my off. Office and I'm looking at it right now. And all of that was a moment for me that that kind of created this notion of going to college having an opportunity to work in sports. And you know, maybe some some way somewhere way long down the road. I might be able to work in college sports setting. How would you describe your business philosophy? Well, business leadership there's kind of a much announce that fit in there. It's high expectations for the people around me, the expectation is for myself to act with integrity. I learned a long time ago that I have to live by a set of principles that inform my priorities. I want my family to be able to thrive, but I also want to work hard. And dedicated way, I want to show up to work with people who are excited about what they do. With whom I want to work I wanna set high expectations and see those expectations achieve as opposed to always have into to prod and move people along I think that in what I do it is a highly relational business. So we're talking mid morning. I've already visited with four athletic directors on phone calls about looking forward type issues did the same thing yesterday. And that's a thumbnail sketch of the priorities, but we also want to excel at this level there are high expectations. So we talk about from vision graduating every student athlete winning every championship and having the opportunity to change the world because of doing those two things very well. Who and what shaped that approach? Well, me and my dad is as a welder, he's a union pipe fitter. And my grandfather was his stepfather. And you know, there weren't anything that we're not any paid vacations. It was get up early and go to work. I had two summers where I actually worked and the construction of nuclear power plant where you know, you're up at five you had to be on the job at seven you worked at the ten hour day. The pay was good, and you work six days a week on that job. And you know, it was kind of work and come home and rest and go back to work, and it was just that cycle watching him. And and knowing how he met the needs of our family, my mom's energy, there's a lot of of myself that I've taken just from watching them not because they sat me down and said, here's the way life has to be. But watching how they live my mom earned her college degree. In her forties. They never overtly said you're going to college. But it was like this expectation that was always present along with this really significant work ethic around care for family, and and maintaining relationships around you, and then, you know, through my professional career, I've had the opportunity to work with four or five really really good leaders. And then stop and watch other people around me Marty. One of the great things for me is I've been in these rooms since nineteen eighty nine with the athletic leadership from division one. And you ain't gotta sit in the back and watch and listen and learn a lot if you're smart enough to do that that you don't always have to be. I didn't have a phone to beyond the check Twitter at that point. So. Much more engaged listening opportunity to all of that combined to make me who I am today. And part of the challenge for me is that it's not static that that learning has to be a lifetime commitment, which is central to. I am. Who do you think you are right now in January of two thousand nineteen compared to who you were on March thirteenth two thousand fifteen when you officially took the job as the Commissioner of the southeastern conference. Yeah. Good research on dates there, man. You know that day the there was a relief. I remember I gave you my my bile, my wife, and I at the end of that that day back in March of twenty fifteen had a moment where I looked at her, and we hogged, and I said at work, and she said what worked and I said all of it the decision to take a job to not take a job to be on this committee or go to that meeting or or not go, I said it works. So on that day. There was a great sense of relief today my stomach continually is in a not if you will just the intensity of the role. You don't know what it's like to sit in the chair at the end of the hall until you literally sit in the chair at the end of the hall. So I had the opportunity for six and a half years to lead a smaller conference. I knew a little bit of that the intensity here is is much greater than anything. I'd ever experienced. So to really get to the question, I have a much greater awareness about the significance of what I say. And its meaning on a national stage, and so much more careful perhaps than I have been much more intentional about taking time for myself every day, otherwise my days and or just overrun with issues. I'm a lot more open to communication seven days a week because I understand better today. That's the job, and I'm probably more focused. I'm more focused on what's next than what is. So our staff has to deal with what is today from time to time, I engage in those issues, but the real expectation is that we're looking to the future or around the corner to see what's next and make sure that we're fully prepared for whatever realities may manifest themselves. What's next? Yeah. That's a good question. You know, we we. We just went we just completed football season. And during that football season, we were talking about what's next, you know, the the world of attention around officiating and every sports very different. So we have been in meaningful discussions about. How do we communicate more effectively about that aspect of what we do? We've taken a long look knowing that in twenty twenty three we have a conclusion date around our contractual relationship with CBS for broadcasting or first pick football games, we announced in November and affiliation with evolution media, creative artists agents see television, which is five years in advance of that date to help us prepare because that world is changing so quickly. You know, we're waiting for a judge's decision in some litigation around college athletics. Part of your question. We'll be. Answered by that judge's decision. And and what plays out next we wanna make sure in the future we have high expectations. So I see in this conference. Continuing enrollment increases continuing hard to believe but continuing increase of attention, and we've got to prepare for that from a public relations and communication standpoint. As we move forward, you were discussing not knowing what it's like to be in the big charity into the hall until you're in that chair. I can't imagine what they won must've been like what what what was the first day. Like when you were in that chair here you've had all these years of print in the SEC system, the SEC administrative system. But now, you're the guy what was that first day? Like, I'm gonna talk about two first days if I may so my my first day officially is Commissioner was the Monday after our spring meeting and destined back in two thousand fifteen and I purposely on that day because it was June. And we didn't have any. Of our contest going on. It was all postseason. I took the day. The right. A whole bunch of notes and letters and emails to people who helped me get here to just say, thank you. And I done some research. I wrote to my second grade teacher who was one of those people that you just remember inspired me as a young person. I wrote to my college baseball coach about a particular moment in my college experience where he helped me understand what leadership really was and at that point. I wasn't at the end of the hallway sitting in a Commissioner's chair as a freshman on a baseball team who was a backup catcher. And he intersected me and helped me understand more about leadership an author named John or Berg who in a moment in my adult life when I needed to rethink how I was living encountered a book he'd written called the life. You've always wanted. And I saw that title. I'm like, hey. Yeah. That's like the the secret. And it wasn't a secret. It was just a a moment where I had to rethink. Some of my commitments and principles that I talked about earlier. So that's that's really what I did on day. One a lot of phone calls. They to reality started to hit though. But the next week I moved into the Commissioner's office, Mike sly my predecessor after our spring meetings was was packing up and moving out that week. And I remember that first day sitting at the desk, I now occupy at eight in the morning kind of overwhelmed for a few minutes because I visited this very office in nineteen ninety eight when I was thirty three years old. I was Commissioner of the Southland conference was coming here to meet with ROY Kramer. And remembering the first time I walked in here thinking while I'm in the office of the SEC Commissioner a place on that that day when I was actually in here I occupied. So I dealt with the offer about fifteen minutes. And then again, I think something walked through my door came to me on the phone where you're like, oh, you're the leader now and the distinction between. Kind of being an adviser. And then being in the chair to decide is one that that I can't overstate, you know, when you're when you move into those roles, and again, I'd had it before you're listening to advisers, or when you're an associate Commissioner executive associate Commissioner, you're saying here's what I think. Then ultimately, the Commissioner has to decide and that is a change in and mentality. Where you listen, you listen, and then you decide as opposed to being able to just contribute to the conversation. And and that was present in both of those first days that you're alternately decider on certain issues and those decisions have impact you noted that book it intrigues me. What did you want to do differently? How did you wanna live your life differently? Well, my first visit ironically to the SEC office was scheduled for September of ninety seven and as I traveled here was in the Atlanta airport, and I passed out and ended up spending a night in the hospital. With a regular heartbeat. Cardiac. Arrhythmia atrial fibrillation is what they called. And I was at a time where it at that point. I was in my early thirties to kids wasn't sleeping exercising wasn't eating. Right. I was drinking a ton of law as and there's a Seinfeld episode where Kramer got pre law taste, and he walked out of a store just jittery and talking fast and flat out that knock me on my back in you know, in that moment was in a bathroom when I passed out and needed some medical help you get through that. And you're like, wow. This can't stay the same. And I spent about six months visiting with a cease wheat people if you will live. I lived in Dallas at the time vice presidents of JC Penney and a company called EDS that Ross Perot, it started MCI, which the predecessor of rise and number of other folks just to say, you know, how? You balance things, and then I bought this. So six months of not trying to figure out, you know, how do I balance work and life and family, and I ended up reading this book and in the book there was a line. That said the problem with chasing balance is not that it's too great a ago, but it it's too. It's insufficient. I'm like, wow, I spent all this time, and that alter just kinda how I thought about things that you wanna make full commitment to your your wife, your children your job. And it created a probably a five year effort to say, here's the characteristics that describe me principles or priorities. If you will then inform principles that then inform my priorities. And it was a good experience of not had a similar health problem since I'm much more diligent and exercising. I I probably should be like you and drink more protein, shakes and less hamburgers. But you know, life's a progression. So I'm not quite there. There yet Marty? Yeah. I have an issue. I'm a little bit neurotic about all those things brother, but you are doing. Well, you look great. You know, you noted a moment ago all of those things in the what's next question like the pending television negotiations and all of those things I can't imagine the quantity of challenges on your desk. But what would you say are the greatest challenges that you face his SEC Commissioner, well, if I could just reduce a one actually have five pages of like revolving priorities that I review and things move on and off it just quickly one is the amount of transition. We've had leadership roles we have great leaders on our campuses. My predecessors had the benefit of really stable leadership at the presidential level, and the athletic director level, you know, we have athletic directors who served for fifteen twenty twenty five years. And those life cycles have shortened. So that causes the need to reinforce why we made certain decisions reinforce a culture of collegiality. That's worked really well, even in a very competitive situation. And I placed that one actually at the top of the priorities because for any organization to thrive there has to be cohesion and collaboration among its leadership to make that work, and we're reinforcing that on a regular basis and I'm grateful for the infusion of new thinking new thoughts and new perspectives. And also that those have those individuals have embraced the culture and being part of the southeastern conference in such a unique way. So so that's one, you know, the changing media environment. I put two or maybe one a we have great agreements with CBS in ESPN, and then the SEC ESPN network, they work really, well, but none of us can be blind. To the fact that media's changing all around us, you know, like you, and I are doing a radio interview. We're we're doing a podcast well five years ago, there were some of those things, but we've seen that aspect of media mushroom where you can go to deliver specific content. The people what does that mean for the future? How do we adapt? How can we make our are televised contests more interactive? How can we provide programming that attracts people in and it may be a more niche driven? But there are a lot of people that wanna see certain aspects of college sports in different angles, including behind the scenes, so that's second. The the the litigation issue is real. And I never want to overstate that. But we may have to adjust. And it's a it's a reality around college sports. We think we do things incredibly. Well. I I watch right now. Young people. Who are have finished their careers at our schools, are perhaps pursuing NFL careers or even some who've decided to transfer and over and over on their social media. They're making these statements about how great their experience was at their SEC university. We have to keep that at the forefront of what we do. And we wanna be all tra- competitive. We've got some of these pressures here, but fundamentally when you get through pay culture, you get through media get through litigation you always come back to say the support and experience provided door student athletes in this league has risen to a point where it is second to non where if you want to challenge yourself competitively and be supported in a marvelous fashion, we can do that in the southeastern conference, and that's not really a challenge that's a reality and something that we should embrace. So those are four quick issues that are are kind of top of mind and almost daily circumstance much of it though, being very good. Because we're doing things really well and the SEC. So there are a couple of questions I'd like to to hit you with on issues and collegiate athletics right now that are that are kind of overarching not just in the southeastern conference, but nationwide and one of those narratives right now is about player compensation. Some folks feel like amateur players at the collegiate level deserve to be compensated. It's a very complicated issue. Greg very complicated. What are the variables involved that make that difficult from your perspective? Well, there's there's some realities which is the the revenue has increased significantly over the last fifteen to twenty years the compensation provided to individuals, particularly coaches generates a lot of headlines in that creates some perceptions you see at our level full stadiums full arenas full baseball stadiums. And we have. We had the issue introduced both both by student athletes. Current and former and through some of the litigation efforts going back to the O'Bannon lawsuit. Obama versus the NCAA. So those put those those rallies put the issues on the agenda on the other side. I think we in the college athletics have done a poor job communicating about how well supported student athletes are in their endeavors. So these these compensation issues may lead the headlines. What's what's not seen as this vacant support structure that's built into each of our athletics programs? Be it academic support medical support nutritional support or the new manifestation, psychological, mental health support for student athletes. I have been clear that I believe the compensation the really the financial support provided the student athletes should. Be tied directly to their educational pursuits and their competitive endeavors, and that's the appropriate level. We moved to cost of attendance my first year as Commissioner as part of scholarship. So there's more to help student athletes meet their needs as students that's provided through their financial support. I think that is is where the limit is. There are there aspects of travel their unique here in we don't exist as a professional league in we shouldn't exist as a professionally. We wouldn't do that very well compared to the NFL or NBA what we do. Well, is we educate seen by over twenty graduate patches on Alabama football players playing in that national championship game. And that's model throughout this league. I don't want to sacrifice the educational endeavor for expansion further of the commercial endeavour around college athletics. Already challenged with that now, and we have. Responsibility to keep that narrow so that young people have four or five year experience to pursue their education and also to succeed competitively. What an answer. Wow. I appreciate your candor. That was great. And you know, what Marty people disagree with that? In the beauty of this is we ought to be in in dialogue. We should share our perspectives. And opinions I have respect for those who do things differently. I seek to understand before I'm trying to be understood. But at the same time in college sports, we should never lose direct attachment to the educational mission. Over universities. That's been a challenge for a hundred years. It'll be a challenge for the next hundred years yet, we do we do support young people incredibly well in the southeastern conference. I just I go round and round and round about that particular issue, and we don't need to get off in a rabbit hole. But in my mind like in my in, my heart. I say, no, they shouldn't be paid. But I'm also not them, right? Like, I'm not those men who were out there playing ball and getting this education and all these things in their coach is making. Seven and a half million dollars in these stadiums or full because their names on the back of that jersey. So I really do see both sides. A couple more things, and I'll get you out of here brother, another thing that we continually hear especially in this past month is the whole playoff expansion narrative. It's an ad nauseam. Everybody has an opinion. What is your position on college football playoff expansion? My position is that the expansion of the national championship competition from two hundred the old BCS format to four under the college football playoff format has worked very well. It worked well this year, and it can continue to work well in the future. And that's where my focus in support is might the current system be improved in different ways. I it may. But I'm not an advocate for expanding beyond for. And I'm one who suggests that any of that consideration. It should be a very deliberate. If you look at the expansion from two to four that was a ten. Year process, and I wouldn't wouldn't I'm not one who is inclined to open the door, but every year apart of our responsibilities. Commissioners is to look at what happens in the playoff and make sure we're meeting our original objectives, which I'm one who thinks we're doing and doing very well. I'm with you. I like four very much if we also understand that I jumped in there just to follow up. I went to seven bowl games. And I started with a six and six Vanderbilt team playing on on ESPN and the textile and Thursday night that was an important opportunity for that team. I went to the Capital One bowl and watch the Kentucky team that hadn't played in that bowl reach ten win season for the first time since the seventies that was an important opportunity for that team in a whole lot of things in between that are are part of this ecosystem, which doesn't include the fourteen playoff. Couple more promise on. I'll know you. Your life to worry about. I saw on your social accounts a photo of a neon sign. That's that states. Do something. Great to brag a minute. I what do you feel like you've done? That's great during your time as Commissioner. Oh, wow. I I think there's a lot one time. I put together a sheet. So I'm gonna put it the top couple of things we've done around student at between created a football student athlete leadership council men's basketball student athlete leadership council and a women's basketball student athlete leadership council. These are highly recruited scholarship student athletes that were missing in the traditional student athlete advisory committee work and to be able to bring those individuals in to identify some issues to engage them in deep dialogue about what's happening around their experience on our campuses. They're experienced around conference or national championships. And what they see for themselves is at the high of the meaningless right behind that. We created a student athlete career tour. It's happened. Every December for the last three years where we bring in about twenty eight student athletes, and they've been the Delta Airlines that happens in Atlanta around our or football champion. Ship game. We brought him. Delta Airlines Chick-fil-A UPS Atlanta Hawks. The Atlanta Braves any number of others to to say, look, you're about to go through transition from being a student and an athlete into a career. We wanna help facilitate that and we've had people young people have jobs out of those encounters as as our career or they've had career opportunities. And we're actually trying to figure out how to multiply that that that opportunity that career tour, you know, around officiating my first year we were talking about hey, could you centralize replay? So we have more correct outcomes. I think what we've done in football has helped improve our officiating. Not that. It's perfect. But that was a monumental and a resource commitment of great importance. We've done the same in men's basketball, the continued competitive success. We went five national championship. Chips last academic year. We finished eleven or set in second place on eleven different occasions some of those SEC teams, but the ability to actually elevate our sustained competitive success even over the last decade is an important point of pride the SEC graduate. Patch Marty is one where we were trying to figure out how do you convey that were educating young people, and it was a lot of work. And actually the folks at the university of Arkansas helped us with the final design where when you graduate, and you continue competing you get to wear that emblem on your on your jersey on your uniform what I never anticipated was how much that would mean to a student athlete who gets to put that patch on after three and a half four years of higher education and then walk out onto the field. The track the court the baseball diamond the softball diamond with a patch. It says there graduate I've watched. So so. Media feeds from student athletes, showing incredible emotion and even more emotion than when they actually received the diploma that they get to walk out with that designation. And what what you hear is? There's been a lot of student athlete focused work that we've done while sustaining competitive success that that ranks among the compliments of significance. And I'll say they last for this because I could give you a thirty minute podcast on everything just on accomplishments and progress, I'm really proud of our staff of the people that I work within this office and their engagement, and dedication, you know, all of these things don't happen by themselves. So I can come up with an idea and have some help and figuring out whether it's a good idea or not and then people have to carry forward, implement, those ideas. And whether it's the just means more campaign that you see on our advertising around. Our venues or maybe a little thing like that graduate, Pat, the patch the execution of our staff makes that possible. Last thing you are in one of the most prestigious most important most scrutinized leadership positions in sports. What makes it good later someone who's prepared not fully, but fully prepared to take on the issues of the day. And that requires a commitment to lifelong learning in education. No matter your position or your age. There is a humility that must be present that acknowledges, I know a lot. But I don't know everything. So I'm going to have to rely on the people around me the ability to block out, the noise, and the critics and focus on what you believe is a leader our priorities and the principles that informed decision making and you have to make decisions and and live with those outcomes and be fully prepared to live with those outcomes. I've had the opportunity to learn from a number of great leaders. Whether it's an interpersonal relations. Ships or through different learning, whether it'd be reading or studying those individuals, and in each I think show those characteristics of humility engagement in lifelong learning the ability withstand the pressure and the ability is still defined space and time to enjoy the outcomes of that leadership work. Well, you've done a tremendous job the proofs and put in as we say down south, man. I can't thank you enough for your time for your insight, and it's been such great joy to spend this time with you fellowship in man. Thank you. Thank you. And part of all of it is, you know, I put on a pair of jeans and pulled on a ball cap and go to a dirt track and watch car racing for a few hours every summer. That's that's one of those enjoyable aspects as well that keeps it centered. It was wonderful to be with you at the dirt track. I could tell that you were in your element. And you were at home, and you could not. I don't think we could wipe the smile off your face with a pressure washer. That was fun. It was fun to see that was that was good good. Good evening. Thank you. When you guys told you you would be fascinated. I'm I'm fascinated. I want I just want to make sure you guys understand when I chatted with Greg. It was eleven o'clock in the morning eleven AM to about eleven thirty or so something like that. And as you heard him say he had already had four extensive conversations with various athletic directors within his conference about pressing issues within the conference or within their respective programs before eleven o'clock, he's had four in-depth conversations mardi you're forgetting something that C officer in central time zone. So it's only ten AM for him. That's a very good point. That's a very good point Travis various studio that Buckeye education coming through right there. Somebody came to somebody's not partly cloudy this morning. Some of us may be otherwise. But what unique perspective on what he faces every single day. And I appreciate it. His candor about those issues that are pressing whether that's evolving media that CBS deal that he was discussing. It's up in twenty twenty three is going to be the most coveted collegiate property maybe ever that SEC number one game of the week is a gold mine. And so that negotiation is going to be very interesting to see how that unfolds, and of course, it's been a staple on CBS for so many years from uncle Vern, and Gary to now Brad Mesler, they do such a great job. And it is a staple of collegiate experience. It always has a big game feel and think about it that three thirty window and SEC that's a standalone game. There are no other games on on the games early or there at night at three thirty window. That's one game all the eyeballs and the. South are on that game. It just feels important. Right. You know, having grown up in the south it just that game. Just feels important. Am I wrong? I mean, look man, your your a midwestern kid you went to Ohio State. You're a big team guy to the hill. But am I wrong that that particular game just feel so important? I hate to admit it. But you're right as much as I hate that slogan. It just means more. They're not wrong. I got a little taste of it this past year going down there LSU, and it really does mean more to them. If I would have had forty five minutes if I would have had forty five minutes with with Greg. I was going to ask him who came up with it just means more. I'd love to know who who said that comment. Maybe that'll be our follow up conversation. We'll get into that. But just a fascinating conversation and someone admire in so many ways because I couldn't do it. I couldn't have all of that on my desk every single day in every single minute with. So many people counting on your leadership. And so many every move you make be having such tremendous aftereffects. And I'm not misinterpreting what I heard he unequivocally doesn't feel like collegiate athletes should be paid in a different structure than they are right now. Right. That's what I heard corrected mince any words, and I meant what I said aftermath of his commentary. I I really see both sides. There's a very distinct feeling that comes with college football and college basketball, specifically that it feels it just it is a business, but it doesn't feel like one in a lot of ways. And I think it's a separating factor. And I liked that feeling but I'm a forty two year old guy who benefits from that? Right. I have my career because of that I'm not Zaylon Williamson or Christian Wilkins or Trevor Lawrence. It's or to a tongue of I lo- or any number of hundreds hundreds of players. So in forget hundreds. I mean, you got to think about I mean, you heard Greg mentioned, Ed O'Bannon. I mean, this thing this goes way way back when you think about Jalen rose when we we had Jalen was our second wasn't. He the second podcast Travis. So I think he was the second podcast, and you go all the way back to Jalen and Chris Webber being overseas when they were on the fab five and seeing their jerseys or whatnot. They're memorabilia hanging in the window and going, wait a minute. Somebody's making money off of this in Amy. And so a genuinely see both sides in a very complicated issue. Some people are are extremely many people are extreme on either side of the issue. Maybe I'm maybe I'm boring. I'm living on the fence on that one. And mardi. You have a different perspective. You get to know these athletes on a little more personal level than the fans. Do just watching on TV. So you see what they go through? And what their life is like an understand why they want to get paid. Absolutely. That's why again, this is a whole other rabbit hole. But these young men that sit out of these bowl games. Good for you that I would I would if I'm the Andre Baker. Or if I'm Lynn or for net, or if I'm Christian McCaffrey, you bet your ass. I'm sitting out think about we'll we had him on the podcast is a wife and a daughter think about so one bowl game was that one bowl game really gonna do for him and his career was the planning going to propel him any further up in the draft. But an injury could have heard even worse. I'm so glad I'm so glad for Jalen Smith that he has had such a tremendous career. I'm so happy that the Cowboys waited on him that they did take a chance they took a chance and drafted this amazing player from Notre Dame who against your buckeyes headache catastrophic injury. And the Cowboys waited on him, and he is a phenomenal football player. And I'm glad that that worked out for. But that was the moment that was the line of demarcation right there. Jalen Smith where these. Guys went wait a minute and their agents bright who their their potential representation. Wait a minute. I don't know if we should be playing in his game or not and when Leonard and Christian made the decision to sit I think it just changed. It changed everything. All right. We're wait. We're way off the reservation now, but thanks so much to to Greg Sankey SEC Commissioner for his tremendous insight. I'm better for it. And I'm certainly smarter for it. Thing about this. He's talking about not wanting to be the guy to replace the guy. Commissioners think he had that role. He had to go in there and fill the void and replace Commissioner. Mike's live who was a huge influence in the college world just that name. I mean, just that name, right. Like, Mike slab mean that name is synonymous with intercollegiate athletic excellence. And you're right. Thank you had to come in and follow that. But. No pressure at all in man. He has thrived. He has done. Just such a tremendous job in a hard job. So as you guys know always intrigued by Twitter, and I just think that it can be the greatest of mediums and the most amazing things can happen. And I also think that it is a cesspool of hatred. I saw the most interesting thing. So I can put video up of Trevor Lawrence throwing sixty two yard touchdown pass. Whatever the number was two Justin Ross or I can put up a video I can be standing on the sideline right beside Daboh Sweeney. When he's going crazy when they have a pick six on the third play of the national championship game. I could put those videos up, and they'll do thirty forty fifty thousand views whatever I can be standing in that exact same spot and post a video randomly just thought. It was interesting the way that the moment unfolded where a young lady runs out on the field to protest something or other and the enforcement law enforcement folks, take her off, and I just happened to be standing right by the path through which they took her and it did how many of us now Travis. One point something million. I think honestly gonna be check. And that's just from my feet. Who knows what it's done from other ones. There was another Twitter account. That's still the video posted as if it was there's an a five hundred thousand sewn just on that one. Yeah. Right. And I don't even know what mine is I know it's more than a million. I'm probably it was a million before I left the stadium. The other night, you have one point two million. Okay. So you're looking at one point seven at least one point seven from my feet, and then whomever, this other feed was that took it and. That's I mean, it just is there something weird about that. Like what what is that traps? Explain that to me, I like to believe she was protesting that a high state should have been the college football playoffs. Works for me brother at a work for me. I guess I can get behind that spoken like a scarlet and gray son of the Buckeye nation. Thank you guys so much for hanging out what an awesome opportunity to interview SEC Commissioner, Greg Sankey, again appreciate his inside in his time. I learned so much. I'm appreciative of Travis scheduling that interview with the Commissioner so preciado of Louise being crazy enough to let us do it. And thank you guys for your commitment to it because I love to hear your feedback. Please let us know your feedback. When you listen, I'm at Marty Smith, ESPN travis's at Travis rock hold and we love that feedback. It's appreciated go on I tunes and subscribe rate in review. Let us know what you think there. I know it seems trivial, but it matters to. Us, and it certainly matters to the bosses that you guys subscribe rate in review, so please do that. And as always do I wanna thank our military before we get out of here. There's a reason we're free, and it's because of our men and women in uniform who work every single day away from their families. Sacrificing. So that we can be free and live in the greatest country in the world. So thank you so much to our military members. That is episode thirty nine of the Marty Smith's America podcast. Thank you guys for listening. We'll catch you next time around.

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