SEC close to approving new rules for rescheduling games

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) Southeastern Conference Commissioner Greg Sankey is close to having full authority to reschedule league games.

Sankey said Sunday that SEC athletic directors voted unanimously last month to approve a regulation that would give the commissioner unilateral control, something he didn't have when LSU and Florida were in an acrimonious stalemate amid Hurricane Matthew.

Current league rules dictate that rescheduling must be agreed upon by both schools involved, with Sankey serving as a mediator. It created a less-than-ideal situation in October , with LSU refusing to give up a home game and Florida eventually being forced to play on the road to stay in the Eastern Division title hunt.

''I think it's a very clear indication of how our athletics directors view the commissioner's authority moving forward,'' Sankey said.

School presidents and chancellors will meet in March to finalize the proposed change, which could result in a new SEC bylaw.

''We'll continue a discussion about ... how games, if they need to be rescheduled, might be rescheduled, whether it's a particular time window or opportunities available and just make that clear in our commissioner's regulations,'' Sankey said. ''Very clearly our conference is supportive of saying that the commissioner is going to have the authority, which I didn't have last fall.''

Sankey's limited power led to divisiveness between Florida AD Jeremy Foley and his LSU counterpart, Joe Alleva, and eventually caused some logistical headaches by having to cancel non-conference games scheduled for Nov. 19 and relocate the LSU-Florida game to Baton Rouge.

Florida only agreed to play at Tiger Stadium after Sankey made a determination to disqualify from SEC championship contention any school that fails to play the eight league games called for by conference rules and regulations. So the Gators had little choice other than to play on the road.

Florida won 16-10 on a goal-line stand in the final seconds.

''It's important that our athletics directors endorsed the concept - unanimously, I might add - because they're ready to assign that responsibility to the commissioner rather than what's been a decades-long process of, `OK, schools, get together and work that out.'"

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