SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announces new diversity initiative, says hiring processes must change

HOOVER, Ala. -- SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced Monday that the presidents and chancellors of the conference approved a new diversity initiative to establish an expectation for athletic department hiring processes around key leadership roles.

Sankey pointed out that while LSU hired the league's first Black president, William Tate, in May there have been eight new head football coaches hired in the last two years, and none of them is from underrepresented groups.

"It's a reality that has changed before and must change again," Sankey said.

Among the positions that will be part of the initiative are athletic directors, senior administrators and head coaches.

Sylvester Croom was hired as the conference's first Black head coach in 2003 at Mississippi State, and there have been just four others hired in the SEC since. After Vanderbilt fired Derek Mason in November 2020, the conference has no Black head coaches.

While the SEC will not dictate who is and isn't hired, Sankey said the league office will now be involved in making sure "historically underrepresented groups" are considered in the hiring process.

"To make certain our member institutions are fulfilling their expectations under this new policy, each year [the schools] will be expected to write a written communication to the commissioner about their efforts to include diverse candidates in their finalists pool," Sankey said.