The Southeastern Conference Football Media Days has long been a staple in Hoover, Alabama, but will be on the road during the next few years.
The event, which began Monday in Hoover, has been held in the Birmingham region for 18 of the past 19 years, but will move to Atlanta next season, followed by a first tour of duty in Nashville in 2021.
“We appreciate the hospitality here in Hoover and at the Wynfrey this week, and we look forward to the new opportunities in the future,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said Monday.
This season also marks the fifth anniversary of the SEC Network. Sankey said the success of the network hasn’t been a surprise.
“That's a tribute to the passion of our fans, the commitment and hard work of the personnel on our university campuses, their support, student-athletes that comprise our teams, and the hard work and dedication of the team at ESPN,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to innovate and serve sports fans uniquely through an authentic SEC experience, and we want to stand second to none among all of our peers.
The Southeastern Conference will help college football celebrate a milestone this season. Teams from the league will wear patches on their uniforms to commemorate college football’s 150th anniversary.
“The league will also, through its athletics, communications directors, celebrate 150 of the finest moments of SEC football,” Sankey said. “Those will not be selected by the Commissioner. So, if someone gets angry about whether or not a moment is part of their 150th best, it won't be me. We will be, however, releasing those moments and announcing them through social media and over the SEC Network throughout the season.”
Florida and Miami will kickoff the season on Aug. 24 at Camping World Stadium. The contest, a week earlier than the official start of the college football season, will begin at 7 p.m.
“In the state of Florida, there will be great focus on those two great universities,” Sankey said. “I also have a rooting interest. I look forward to being in Florida. You know, what's interesting, I think it's great, from the standpoint of the being able to feature, almost a stand-alone Saturday. I think there are a handful of other games, a great match-up, an in-state matchup like Florida and University of Miami.”
VIVA LAS VEGAS
• The league will have a tie-in to the Las Vegas Bowl beginning in 2020. A team from the Pac-12 school will play an SEC program in 2020, 2022 and 2024.
The SEC will rotate with the Big 10. The game will be played at a new stadium being built for the Las Vegas Raiders and the UNLV Running Rebels. Currently, a Pac-12 school plays a member of the Mountain West Conference, a deal that will dissolve after this season.
“We are happy to have the Las Vegas Bowl in our inventory beginning in 2020,” Sankey said.
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at email@example.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.