Published: Thu, May 17, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey issues statement following passing of Mike Slive

SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey issues statement following passing of Mike Slive

Mike Slive, the former commissioner of the Southeastern Conference, died Wednesday in Birmingham at age 77, the league office announced. Finally, after two SEC teams, LSU and Alabama, played in the BCS national championship game after the 2011 season, the rest of college football's power brokers came around and constructed the current postseason system.

"I'm so saddened to learn that Mike Slive, who was both a personal friend and mentor, has passed", UF AD Scott Stricklin wrote on his Twitter account. "His integrity and leadership have left a lasting legacy in the SEC and all of college athletics". We will miss him for his work and especially for his compassion. Slive became SEC commissioner in 2002, coming from Conference USA to help clean up an SEC beset by NCAA issues. The SEC also enjoyed broadcast partnerships with ESPN and CBS during Slive's tenure. He led the adoption of a new and effective league-wide NCAA compliance initiative, engineered landmark television contracts, including the launch of the SEC Network, and guided the conference through expansion, welcoming two new institutions - Texas A&M and Missouri. During that time, the conference produced seven consecutive national champions in college football from 2006-2012.

Very sad news: Former SEC commissioner Mike Slive passed away today in Birmingham.

His impact was felt far beyond the footprint of the SEC. He arrived having founded the Great Midwest Conference and Conference USA, and his first task as SEC chief was cleaning up a league riddled by rules violations.

"Unbelievably smart", Alleva said about Slive. The SEC has always been a premier league but he took it to a whole another level. Nine schools either were under NCAA investigation or on probation.

Slive played a pivotal role in the creation of the College Football Playoff.

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"He was firm. He was stern and laid down the law", Alleva said.

The conference released a statement following Slive's passing and praised his impact on the launching of the SEC Network, the conference's academic development, and the advancement of diversity.

"The other area was that we had never had a minority head football coach".

Slive served as coordinator of the Bowl Championship Series from 2006-08, served as chair of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee from 2008-09 and was also instrumental in the formation of the College Football Playoff. In 2002-03, Slive worked on the Commission of Athletics Opportunity, established by the United States Secretary of Education to review the workings of Title IX. In 2017, he launched the Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research.

Slive was born in Utica, New York, the son of a butcher. Slive earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College before going on to receive a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Slive is survived by his wife of 49 years, Liz; his daughter Anna; son-in-law Judd Harwood; and granddaughter Abigail. "We could never be who we wanted to be unless that was taken care of, and I think we've done a nice job of changing that culture".

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