Leading Voice on College Sports Named Utica University Commencement Address
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey returns to where his distinguished career began
Greg Sankey, widely recognized as one of the most influential leaders in sports, will address the graduating Class of 2023 at Utica University’s Undergraduate Commencement, which will be held on Thursday, May 11.
Sankey is the commissioner of the Southeastern Conference (SEC), a 14-member Division I athletic conference and a leader on the national landscape for intercollegiate athletics. He was named as the SEC’s eighth commissioner in 2015, after joining the conference as associate commissioner in 2002 before being named Executive Associate Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer in 2012.
The SEC is commonly regarded as the most successful college athletic conference in the nation, a position cemented during Sankey’s time as commissioner. Under his leadership, SEC member institutions have won 37 national championships, including five of the past seven College Football Playoff National Championships.
Sankey has been an outspoken advocate for student-athletes, creating a framework to provide young people in the Conference with challenging leadership opportunities and expanded resources to succeed at the highest levels of academic and competitive success. His leadership has grown and strengthened the SEC’s exposure, reputation, and financial profile, reaffirming the conference’s preeminence on and off the field. He helped facilitate the SEC’s expansion from 12 to its current 14 members with the additions of Texas A&M University and the University of Missouri in 2012, and as commissioner in July 2021, he announced that the University of Texas and Oklahoma University will join the conference as its 15th and 16th members in 2025.
Hailed as an earnest innovator who simultaneously embraces the values and traditions of college sports, Sankey is a foremost voice on navigating the need for change in college sports. In 2021, he was named co-chair of the NCAA Division I Transformation Committee, the group appointed to lead efforts to reimagine the future of college sports.
Sankey’s career began at Utica, where he served as director of intramural sports. He later oversaw athletic compliance at Northwestern State University and for the Southland Conference, before becoming commissioner of the Southland Conference in 1996.
“We are privileged to welcome Greg Sankey back to Utica,” Utica University President Laura Casamento says. “The story of his incredible achievements and the position of prominence he has earned is widely and rightfully known. Less known but equally impressive are the remarkable details of his journey from a first-generation college student to one of the most powerful figures in sports. His story is a powerful inspiration for our graduates as they set out on their own professional journeys.”
A native of Auburn, New York, Sankey earned his master’s degree from Syracuse University and his bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York College at Cortland. He and his wife, Cathy, currently reside in Birmingham, Alabama.