SEC Spring Meeting: Greg Sankey perception, reality and more

During the SEC Spring Meeting, Greg Sankey explained an outside review of officiating was needed because perception can become reality. What about selective perception?

Greg Sankey announced at the SEC Spring meeting, the accounting firm, Deloitte has been hired to conduct a review of SEC officiating. Deloitte has a solid, international reputation for thoroughness,  though delving into the intricacies of college football officiating appears to be an unusual scope of work for the firm.

Apparently, Sankey believes SEC football fans need some reassurance the league’s officials are not biased. Competence is a separate issue and it is not known what football officiating experts Deloitte will use for that assessment. Officiating in all sports has an established process of peer review. Even so, it is rare for any review to lead to public disclosure of officiating errors.

Greg Sankey said,

I did this not because something is broken. … But I want us to be better. The sport officiating environment is evolving.

Wanting better is and always should be a primary concern for the Commissioner of the SEC and all leagues. Sankey should be commended for being proactive. He explained part of his motivation in conducting the review as countering negative assessments of some past season officiating decisions.

Perception can be reality. Part of this communication effort is — are we going to change everyone’s perception? I don’t think so, but I think we can make progress.

In Sankey’s own words, “perception can be reality.” We can add there is equal risk when selective perception avoids what many see as the obvious. And at this point, at least publicly, Greg Sankey has succumbed to selective perception.

Yesterday, LSU basketball coach, Will Wade appeared at the SEC Spring Meeting. Wade is in current job and career survival mode after reportedly being taped discussing paying for players during a phone call.

Yahoo Sports has consistently led the reporting efforts on Will Wade. Per the linked story, the FBI has more than one tape of Will Wade. Tuesday, Wade was asked about federal wiretaps and ‘strong-assed’ offers and Pat Forde reported,

“That’s a good question,” Will Wade said, with an incongruous smile on his face.

Wade then proceeded to not answer said question. And LSU seems perfectly fine with enabling its men’s basketball coach as he performs a weak charade that evades public accountability.

If there were a good answer to that good question, the public certainly would have heard it by now.

If LSU is enabling Will Wade’s avoidance of the truth – and by any rational standard, it is clear the school is doing just that? Then, what is the SEC doing? The answer is, publicly the SEC is doing nothing. We can hope the SEC and the NCAA are working behind the scenes to further investigate Will Wade. However, Sankey has stated in the past the SEC is not in the enforcement business.

If the SEC does nothing to engage in enforcement of its member institutions, having any concern over the integrity of its game officials rings hollow. Apparently, the integrity of head coaches does not concern the SEC. Yes, Mr. Sankey, perception can become reality and your selective perception about Will Wade could lead to a damaged reality for the league.

The core question over the integrity of game officials is tied to the proliferation of gambling on college events. The SEC is correct in trying to assure its officials will never become corrupted.