The Southeastern Conference commissioner on Friday subtly barbed LSU athletic director Joe Alleva for comments he made regarding the rescheduled Florida-LSU game, and the conference shined a light on two previously undisclosed regulations that allowed the commissioner to force a resolution to the fiasco.
Greg Sankey, in his 17th month as SEC commissioner, expressed disappointment in Alleva for making forceful public comments Monday while the parties — Florida, LSU and the SEC — worked to reschedule a game washed out last week by the threat of Hurricane Matthew.
“I’ve been concerned since Monday when lines (were) drawn in the sand,” Sankey told The State newspaper Friday following a meeting with the South Carolina board of trustees in Columbia, South Carolina.
“It is difficult to come to conclusions,” he said later, “when we’re publicly stating lines in the sand. We can’t do that.”
Florida agreed to reschedule the game for Nov. 19 in Baton Rouge, and the schools will buy out of their nonconference games originally set for that date.
LSU interim football coach Ed Orgeron kept a secret throughout Thursday’s 90-minute practice…
Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley’s decision Thursday came two days after Sankey brought to the discussions an ultimatum: Play the game, or you’re ineligible for the SEC title game.
Sankey told the athletic directors that every SEC team must play eight conference games to be eligible for the title game, an interpretation of two bylaws in the commissioner’s regulations handbook. The SEC provided the bylaws to The Advocate on Friday.
The “conference championship” bylaw states that a “team in each division with the highest percentage of wins during all regular-season conference competition will be declared division champion.”
"All regular-season conference competition" for LSU includes its game against Florida, and "all regular-season conference competition" for Florida includes a game against LSU, SEC associate commissioner Herb Vincent wrote while providing the bylaws.
The second bylaw is found under “regular-season competition scheduling.”
“Each conference team shall play eight conference games each year,” the bylaw reads.
So, after more than a week of kerfuffle and recriminations, this is the final equation: a bi…
Sankey has the right to interpret any bylaws or policies, according to SEC Bylaw 4.4.2(e) in the commissioner’s regulations handbook.
"Greg Sankey is a great commissioner, and this is a great league," Alleva told The Advocate on Friday night. "I will not comment on his views regarding the Florida game."
On Friday, Sankey also indicated that if the schools didn’t resolve the standoff, “we were going to have to take a very different approach, which I don’t think would have been healthy.” He declined to address details of that potential next step, but the commissioner could have called for an emergency meeting of the SEC's presidents and chancellors.
The presidents and chancellors could have voted to give Sankey the authority to make a decision on the game.
“Thanks to Jeremy for offering the chance to move this year’s game,” Sankey said Friday. “There is a point at which, yes, before we had to go a whole other direction that might not have been healthy, it was the willingness to make that adjustment.”
The commissioner does not have authority to reschedule a football game — only to cancel or postpone one. But that could soon change.
The SEC's presidents and chancellors plan to revise a policy to better define the process for completing postponed or interrupted contests. The new policy would grant authority to the commissioner to determine the date and location of future games that may need to be rescheduled if the institutions cannot mutually identify a date, a statement from the league read Thursday.