An attorney working to defend the University of North Carolina in an ongoing academic scandal does not want SEC commissioner Greg Sankey to be a part of the NCAA panel weighing in on the situation due to a perceived conflict of interest. The attorney went so far as to suggest it would be like having an SEC official refereeing a championship game between an SEC and ACC school.
Attorney Elliott Abrams issued his request to have Sankey removed from the panel to the NCAA earlier this month. In it, Abrams claims Sankey “has a personal, professional and institutional interest in the outcome.” The point Abrams is attempting to make is anything bad that happens to the UNC program instantly hurts the ACC as a whole and gives the SEC an edge in whatever perception battle Abrams thinks Sankey is out to defend.
That seems a bit far-fetched, as NCAA panels are routinely made up of representatives from across the NCAA landscape, and Sankey has never given a hint of jeopardizing his integrity before over such an issue. Few would honestly think the SEC commissioner would do all he could to slam another program in another conference merely because “it just means more” in the SEC.
It should be noted neither the SEC or UNC has commented on this request.
Of course, this was just one bit of the silly stuff coming out from attorneys in the state of North Carolina today. In a separate story, lawmakers in North Carolina proposed a bill that would threaten to pull both UNC and NC State out of the ACC if the conference were to boycott the state again due to the state’s controversial bathroom laws.
The idea of UNC and NC State suddenly hitting the realignment free agent market is fun to think about in a hypothetical sense, but this may be more of another example of politicians playing to their base and nothing more will come of it.