The SEC is making changes to avoid any more high-profile scheduling controversies in the future.
The Associated Press reported the league is getting close to giving the SEC Commissioner full authority in rescheduling conference games when necessary. The move comes after LSU and Florida got into a very public dispute over the rescheduling of their game in 2016 due to Hurricane Matthew.
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said the conference’s athletic directors voted last month to give the commissioner “unilateral control” in those matters, something he didn’t have before.
“We’ll continue a discussion about … how games, if they need to be rescheduled, might be rescheduled, whether it’s a particular time window or opportunities available and just make that clear in our commissioner’s regulations,” Sankey said. “Very clearly our conference is supportive of saying that the commissioner is going to have the authority, which I didn’t have last fall.”
Sankey’s lack of power contributed to very hostile negotiations between Florida and LSU.
Florida’s then-AD Jeremy Foley said LSU “was refusing to consider any other options presented except those consistent with the line they had drawn.” LSU AD Joe Alleva called a report that the Tigers turned down an early offer to reschedule the game “a flat-out lie.”
The Gators and Tigers finally came to an agreement that Florida would play at LSU in 2016 in exchange for LSU playing the next two matchups in Gainesville.
After this proposed change, Sankey would have the authority to make two schools reschedule a game at the time and and location that he specifies.
“It’s important that our athletics directors endorsed the concept–unanimously, I might add–because they’re ready to assign that responsibility to the commissioner rather than what’s been a decades-long process of, ‘OK, schools, get together and work that out,'” Sankey said.