Everything SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said about eight-game football schedule for 2024

MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. — The SEC will play an eight-game conference football schedule once Oklahoma and Texas officially become members in 2024, but it will reevaluate moving to a nine-game schedule for the 2025 season and beyond.

The 14 university presidents voted unanimously in favor of preserving the eight-game schedule during SEC spring meetings Thursday. The conference has not determined a specific scheduling structure regarding permanent or rotating opponents due to the one-year nature of the decision.

The 2024 SEC football schedule will be released on June 14 via a special primetime show on ESPN.

Here's everything SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said about the decision and what the future could look like:

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On making a temporary decision for 2024

"We were unified in this decision, university presidents and athletics directors ... We've done a lot of homework, despite my coyness in press conferences ... Again, when you think about the focus, we've had institutions emphasize the importance of some key games on both sides, but whether it's the amount of change, onboarding, who's going to play what, inserting new people into games, this provides us really an opportunity for a healthy transition."

"I think it's another step forward. It's incremental, and we're going to continue the work towards the future. I also know that the leadership position also weighs on this, and just walking away from a wholesale set of games is a point of conversation. We appreciate the help of our relationships across Division I and want to be attentive to that ... Big picture, it's an appropriate step."

"Over time, we won't be shying away from anything. We just didn't add another game during a period of transition. If you're that impatient, I'm glad you're not running a conference. We're going to use the ability to look deeply at how we walk through issues, how we deal with change around the (College Football) Playoff, how we impact our media partner in a positive way, how we think about non-conference scheduling ... Back in 2020 I didn't decide quickly enough, they said. We thrived, and we will continue to thrive.

On setting the 2024 schedule

"We have a combination of the expectation of fairness and balance — obviously we've done any number of retrospective analyses of win-loss records. We've been asked to make the competitive disparity in strength of schedule more narrow than it is and achieve a perfect balance. That'd be great if you can make an undefeated team play an undefeated team."

"I think I've been clear about honoring traditional rivals so I'm excited about that, but I'm not going to give my schedule away right now. We understand the priorities. (We will) definitely to the extent we can (schedule secondary rivals)."

On when to expect a permanent decision

"Certainly nobody wants to go through this every year, and we've done a lot of analysis. We're not going to go through paralysis by analysis. This was really thought through, and we think it's the right thing to do. You don't have to see a lot of repeat-type games or somebody has to go back to the same site. That may be in our future, we just want to think through that a bit more and how we make a smooth transition in maintaining this type of schedule."

"It would be the preference, and I would expect it to be done in a more timely manner than (at spring meetings) next year."

On ESPN's involvement

"We keep them informed, and there's always the notion of a lot more control than what I've experienced. I remember in the summer of 2021, it was like who decided this? Well we decided this. We decided this one too. We've kept our media partner informed and moving forward and 2024 will be the first opportunity to be fully aligned with ABC, ESPN and the network."

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Everything Greg Sankey said about 8-game SEC football schedule in 2024