Leading the way

New SEC commissioner Greg Sankey praised the league’s presidents and administrators in South Carolina and Mississippi for positions they’ve taken regarding the Confederate battle flag.

This became an issue again after the church massacre in South Carolina.

Sankey stopped short of saying he would apply pressure on the state of Mississippi to change its flag which includes the Confederate flag in its overall design.

It was Sankey’s first Media Days as commissioner. The transition from Mike Slive to Sankey has been made with little fanfare since being announced at the SEC basketball tournament last March.

Slive is in town but hasn’t been seen here at Media Days.

Sankey has shown a smooth confidence in handling hard questions, a wit that disarms the room and an appetite for social media.

He’s off to a good start. …

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason was part of the Day 1 proceedings. He says the Commodores are bigger, stronger and faster, but they were 0-8 in the league last year. Most of the losses weren’t close, and the non-conference wins were not impressive.

It will be hard to take Mason seriously until Vanderbilt shows it’s made some strides on the field.

There are staff changes in Nashville, one of them being Mason’s decision to serve as his own defensive coordinator, a position in which his Stanford success helped earn him the Vanderbilt job. He wants to take away the middle man in the communication chain and said he didn’t do that in his first season because he looked around and saw that not too many head coaches were serving as their own coordinators.

He also said he thought Vanderbilt last season would have an SEC team because it was playing in the SEC.

Mason could have used a little better scouting report on the league. However, with the foundation James Franklin had lain most people didn’t expect Vanderbilt to be as bad as it was. Now in Mason’s second year it’s hard to believe there won’t be at least some level of improvement.

The Commodores visit Ole Miss on Sept. 26 the week after the Rebels open SEC play at Alabama.



Denham Springs, La., native, Mississippian since 1989 with a stop in Meridian before arriving in Tupelo. Daily Journal beat writer since 1996, covering Ole Miss since 2002. Proud Northeast Louisiana alum. Follow me on Twitter @parrishalford and listen to John Davis and myself daily with The Ole Miss Beat on Rebel Sports Radio.

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