SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey is more powerful than the NCAA

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In any drug kingpin story worth watching, there’s inevitably the scene where a policeman gets threatened or flat-out killed as a warning or retribution. Usually, it precedes and prompts the anti-hero’s downfall. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey more or less sent the NCAA a hand-written note with the names and addresses of their family members Thursday, but because blue-collar crime made America, there will be no massacre at the toll station, no comeuppance.

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In an interview with Yahoo! Sports this week, the head of college athletics’ most powerful conference told the NCAA to worry about themselves and not the “cases” involving schools under his purview, including the one facing Tennessee.

“I have a history of not commenting on specific matters. What’s in front of us are a big set of realities,” he said. “Not simply — quote — cases, but big realities. We need to be dealing with the big realities.”

Those realities Sankey is referring to are the existential ones facing the sport, and it’s extremely easy to tell the NCAA to do that when you have their cajones in a vice. This is like an 18-year-old telling their parents not to worry about the massive bar tab they racked up in international waters because in three years it’s not going to matter because it will be legal.

The NCAA is in an impossible spot. It has to write rules as fast as it enforces them, all while trying to keep the schools that employ them from further kneecapping their very existence. I know it sounds ridiculous but somewhere some NCAA committee members are putting serious thought into these rules and regulations with the intention of making the sport safer, better run and less gross.

Since this is America, and laws are looser than morals, Sankey and Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti created an “advisory group” to advise the NCAA to build them the best playhouse ever or else. Imagine if the NFC just said screw you, Roger Goodell. You’ve irreversibly changed the sport, and we’re going to start our own league to be dicks about you being dicks to us. (That’d be awesome, so on second thought …)

Yes, it kills me to side with the NCAA on anything, yet let’s not just turn the tables on them anytime they try to be responsible. This is my fourth(?) analogy in almost as many paragraphs, so bear with me: Even a drunken mess of a parent can mean well.

It’s not the NCAA’s fault. Money turns everyone into poolside alcoholics eventually, and god forbid they don’t want all of academia ending up in rehab and alone like them. Charlie Baker is aware of the threats facing America’s most exorbitant extortion act: The transfer portal, NIL tampering, and myriad lawsuits that could cost them billions.

“Those are the big pictures that need to be resolved as the primary focus,” Sankey said. “We shouldn’t be distracted by specific matters. We need to deal with the big picture.”

Thank you, Greg. You know what would be helpful? If you didn’t remind me of my prison stint when I ask you how many bumps you’ve had tonight.

Is JuJu Watkins the next Caitlin Clark?

USC freshman guard JuJu Watkins scored 51 of the Trojans’ 67 points in a win over Stanford on Friday night. She damn near outscored the Cardinal herself, as the home team tallied 58.

This isn’t reactionary either. The jumpshot and handle are buttery smooth. Watkins is averaging 25.8 in her debut year, just .8 points below Caitlin Clarks’ freshman year mark. Oh, also, that output is second in the country this year to Clark’s 32.1 PPG.

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