Thursday October 23rd, 2014

The Southeastern Conference announced Wednesday that it will begin the search for its next commissioner. Last week, current SEC commissioner Mike Slive announced that he will be retiring in July 2015, after holding the position since 2002. 

The SEC is hoping to find its new commissioner "in a timely manner," in order to allow a transition period before Slive retires. 

Slive's replacement will be the eighth commissioner in SEC history.

SI.com's Pete Thamel and Andy Staples have both said the conference's chief operating officer, Greg Sankey, is a top candidate to replace Slive. 

AP: Data shows no evidence of SEC bias in polling​

The search committee was appointed by Nicholas S. Zeppos, Chancellor of Vanderbilt University and current chair of the SEC's Presidents and Chancellors. Dr. David Gearhart, Chancellor of the University of Arkansas, has been named chairman of the committee.​

"Mike Slive has done an incredible job as SEC Commissioner. He is revered throughout college athletics. Finding the right person to carry on the leadership of the Southeastern Conference, an unquestioned leader in intercollegiate athletics, is a major undertaking as the position is vital to the continued positive transformation of the conference and intercollegiate athletics as a whole," Gearhart said. "I'm honored to have been selected by Chancellor Zeppos to lead this important committee."

Other members of the search committee will include Dr. Judith Bonner, President of the University of Alabama; Dr. Eli Capilouto, President of the University of Kentucky; Dr. Mark Keenum, President of Mississippi State University; and Dr. R. Bowen Loftin, Chancellor of the University of Missouri.

• ​ELLIS: How will Tennessee fans react to Lane Kiffin's return?

Slive also announced last week that he is starting treatment for prostate cancer, for which he was treated in the 1990s. His prognosis is good, but he may be forced to limit his responsibilities as commissioner until his retirement. 

- Josh Sanchez

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.