Thoughts of the Day: July 26, 2021

A few thoughts to jump start your Monday morning: “SANKEY IS THINKING 50 YEARS AHEAD OF ALL OF US” – POWER 5 ADMINISTRATOR Greg Sankey once again reminds us that great line from the movie “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” when Butch (played by Paul Newman) utters the line, “I’ve got insight and the rest of the world is wearing bifocals!”


A year ago when Kevin Warren of the Big Ten was doing his best impersonation of someone who just had a lobotomy and Larry Scott was sitting in his San Francisco office drooling, Sankey had a plan to play football. The Southeastern Conference played a 10-game, conference-only schedule. He allowed wiggle room with midseason open dates so that games postponed due to COVID-19 could be made up. Counting the SEC Championship Game, 71 games were scheduled and 69 were played. Only after Sankey led and the ACC, Big 12, American, Fun Belt and Conference USA followed did Warren wake up from his coma. The Big Ten season was abbreviated, offered no wiggle room to make up games lost and, by all practical accounts, was borderline disaster. Larry Scott made Kevin Warren seem like Einstein reincarnated.


When everyone was grumbling that the College Football Playoff was stale and too much of the same old, same old, Sankey was once again was way ahead of everyone else. Make no mistake about it, the expanded 12-team playoff that will invite the six highest ranked conference champs and six at-large teams was Sankey’s doing. It turns out he was working on this BEFORE there was such a thing as a COVID-19 pandemic.


Last week, just when we starting to realize how name, image and likeness (NIL) is going to do a Lou (The Tailor) Rosanova on college sports by making permanent alterations, the bombshell that Texas and Oklahoma want to bolt the Big 12 for the SEC leaked out. Confirmed within hours, further investigation uncovered the fact the two schools had been working on this with the SEC FOR SIX MONTHS, which means Sankey has gotten this well past idle chat and into the serious stage. Further proof was the feigned outrage by Texas A&M, the purported leaker of the jailbreak. Feigned, because within 48 hours of the “leak” the Texas A&M president was saying “Bring on Texas!” or words to that effect.


Barring a miracle of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace proportions that will keep Texas and Oklahoma in the Big 12, this is going to happen. Texas and Oklahoma will announce their intentions this week and within a matter of a couple weeks, if not sooner, the SEC presidents will do their best Price Is Right impersonations and shout out, “Texas and Oklahoma, come on down!”


Now, money has plenty but not all to do with the move. With or without Texas and Oklahoma, every school in the SEC will be cashing yearly checks for $65 million (or more) every year when the new deal with ESPN kicks in. And speaking of ESPN, do understand this – there would be absolutely zero chance that this could get done without ESPN in on the negotiations almost from the beginning. All ESPN has to do is add $40 million a year to its deal with the SEC and everybody is happy. ESPN will make up the difference easily with advertising and have enough extra that every school in the league will get MORE than the guaranteed $20 million payout. As for Texas and Oklahoma, they’ll get a $27 million raise from the $38.3 million a year they get from the Big 12.