Commissioner Greg Sankey: SEC Would 'Consider' 8-Team Playoff Without Auto Qualifiers

Doric SamMay 31, 2022

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 25: A Southeastern Conference logo on a down marker during a game between the Vanderbilt Commodores and Georgia Bulldogs, Saturday, September 25, 2021, at Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Matthew Maxey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the midst of reports that the SEC is considering holding its own intraconference playoff, Commissioner Greg Sankey confirmed that an eight-team College Football Playoff remains on the table during this week's league meetings in Destin, Florida.

According to Action Network's Brett McMurphy, Sankey said Tuesday that an "eight-team playoff without automatic qualifiers is something we would consider."

According to ESPN's Pete Thamel, part of the motivation for Sankey to implement an SEC-only playoff is that he "is still mad about the way the College Football Playoff expansion talks collapsed earlier this year." There was a proposal for the CFP to expand to 12 teams, but it fell apart in February, so it will remain a four-team tournament through 2025.

The SEC is set to expand to 16 teams in 2025 when Oklahoma and Texas join the conference. The impending changes have fueled support for an exclusive postseason tournament.

"We have an incredibly strong league, one that will be even stronger once Oklahoma and Texas join. The focus should be on how we as a league use that strength to further position the SEC as we face new realities," Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin told Thamel last week. "Commissioner Sankey has encouraged our athletic directors to think creatively, and an SEC-only playoff is a different idea that we should absolutely consider an option."

While nothing is imminent, it appears that Sankey is remaining steadfast in his approach to continue to establish the SEC as the most powerful conference in college football.

"We wanted to be good be good collaborators. We think we gave up a lot ... what was viewed as a balanced approach given the up-front demands eventually feel apart," Sankey said last week. "We also have the responsibility to think broadly about different possibilities. The SEC will continue to do so."