"If we could change behaviors without penalties, I'm sure we would," Sankey said. "But we have different types of penalties for all kinds of behaviors, and that's a particularly dangerous play which merits that severe accountability."
The SEC media days began Monday, with Missouri, Florida and LSU opening the proceedings.
Before the teams and their select representatives made their appearances, however, the event opened with a new commercial from the conference:
Missouri was the first team on the schedule, and new quarterback Kelly Bryant—who transferred from Clemson—spoke about his decision to join the Tigers.
Rocco DiSangro @RoccoDiSangro
"That was one of the schools I wanted to go to out of high school." Kelly Bryant says that Auburn was one of the first schools to contact him when he put his name in the transfer portal. The former Clemson QB says he meshed well with Gus Malzahn, but decided on Missouri. https://t.co/t2uT3cdZYW
Missouri didn't have any players leave, however, despite being hit with a postseason ban this season.
"I didn't want to play for anybody else," senior linebacker Cale Garrett said at the podium, per John Adams of the Knoxville News Sentinel. "We have guys who have been together for four or five years, guys who have been through a lot together."
"I think they drew a line in the sand and said this is what we're going to do in 2019 as a team together, and they stood by it," head coach Barry Odom added about not losing any players through the transfer portal, per the Tennessean. "That's a close, close group, and I think those opportunities that were presented to us are going to help us as we get down into the fall into the season."
Dan Mullen and the Florida Gators were up next, and as always, Mullen provided some entertainment alongside talking up his team:
He also showed off some new kicks, even if opposing fans took to roasting him about his sneakers online:
He also said he expected his players to tune out any noise or criticism coming from outside the program:
The third and final team to hit the podium was LSU and head coach Ed Orgeron, who touched on everything from the team's high expectations this season to a talented secondary and quarterback Joe Burrow:
Burrow also spoke about the team's evolving offense and his own growth as a player.
"It's getting closer to my comfort zone, to what I've been doing my whole life," he said, per Scott Rabalais of the Advocate. "The RPOs. The speed. That's something I've been doing since I was 14 or 15. We're still going to have some of that smashmouth LSU football, but I think we're evolving a little bit."
"Last summer I didn't know if I'd ever be a starting quarterback in college," Burrow added. "This year, with 13 starts under my belt, I want to be a leader and want to make everyone around me better."
Burrow wasn't all business and no play, however:
Finally, conference commissioner Greg Sankey opened this year's SEC media days by announcing that the event would be in Atlanta next year and Nashville in 2021, per Sam Blum of AL.com.
He also spoke about sports gambling and his hopes that regulations on the state and federal level will protect the integrity of the college game:
"Ideally, there would be uniformed practices applicable across states throughout the country governing gambling on college sports, particularly eliminating specific in-game betting and proposition belts on college sports.
"As I stated last year, it may be ideal for us not to experience any expansion in sports gambling. What is needed now is for our state and federal legislative leaders to enact policies, oversight and to fund enforcement of those policies and laws to make sure we are protecting the integrity of our games and supporting properly our student-athletes and the students on our campus."
Finally, he defended the half-game suspension or ejection for targeting penalties.