SEC logo

The Southeastern Conference announced Thursday the creation of the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice, a league-wide body consisting of a diverse group of student-athletes, administrators, coaches and SEC staff.

The council will identify resources, outline strategies and assist with implementation of efforts that, when taken together, will promote racial equity and social justice, while also fostering diversity, helping overcome racism and pursuing non-discrimination in intercollegiate athletics.

“An important movement has been ignited around the equitable treatment of all underrepresented minorities, and the SEC is determined to be a leader in the pursuit of meaningful and lasting change,” said SEC commissioner Greg Sankey. “With the council as our guide, we will develop an action agenda built on the foundation that all are created equal and ensure this truth echoes across our stadiums, our arenas, our campuses, our communities, our states and our nation.” 

Members of the council include individuals from within the conference’s existing student-athlete engagement program — a multi-faceted effort involving more than 60 student leaders in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball and all other SEC sponsored sports. Racial equity and social justice will be required discussions during all student-athlete leadership and advisory council meetings, while those groups’ chairs, vice chairs and/or other identified leaders will participate in council meetings.

In addition, the council will include administrative leaders from each campus and head coaches from each SEC sport who will regularly meet with SEC student-athletes to better understand and respond to their questions and concerns.

“Today’s youth are our leaders and change agents of tomorrow, and by listening, asking and seeking their insights and counsel, we have begun the shared journey toward racial equality,” said Sankey.

Alongside student-athletes, the SEC has used the past several weeks to gather and understand perspectives from a range of stakeholders across its 14 campuses, including presidents and chancellors, directors of athletics, senior woman administrators, faculty athletics representatives, various sport head coaches, mental health professionals and the SEC staff. 

Those discussions helped create a framework for the council, which will provide ongoing guidance to the SEC office and updates to conference leaders at regular intervals. The council will initially focus on the following five strategic areas:

• Increasing Access and Representation for Underrepresented Minorities

• Providing Enhanced Support for Underrepresented Minorities

• Improving Education on Racial and Social Issues for All Stakeholders

• Deepening Commitments to Local Communities

• Raising Awareness of Racial Inequity and Social Injustice

Among other efforts, the council will be tasked with identifying resources related to racial equity and social justice for educational and professional development programs for athletics department staff, coaches and student-athletes; outlining support mechanisms for underrepresented minorities within the athletics department; and identifying opportunities for the SEC to bolster ongoing university and athletics department diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives. In addition, the council will advise athletics departments and the conference office on ways student-athletes, coaches and staff may fulfill their ongoing civic responsibilities in the electoral process.

Coupled with student-athlete participation, members of the SEC Council on Racial Equity and Social Justice include the following university administrators and head coaches:

University Administrators

University of Alabama – Dr. James King, Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Culverhouse College of Business & Faculty Athletics Representative

University of Arkansas – Derita Ratcliffe, Deputy Director of Athletics & Senior Woman Administrator

Auburn University – Allen Greene, Director of Athletics

University of Florida – Dr. Chris Hass, Associate Provost for Academic & Faculty Affairs

University of Georgia – Darrice Griffin, Deputy Director of Athletics

University of Kentucky – Melissa Gleason, Executive Associate Director of Athletics & Chief Financial Officer

Louisiana State University – Dr. Dereck Rovaris, Vice Provost for Diversity & Chief Diversity Officer

University of Mississippi – Dr. Charlotte Fant Pegues, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Mississippi State University – Dr. Angel Brutus, Assistant Director of Athletics in Counseling and Sport Psychology Services

University of Missouri – Kamrhan Farwell, Vice Chancellor for Communications & Marketing

University of South Carolina – Julian Williams, Vice President for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

University of Tennessee – Tyvi Small, Vice Chancellor for Diversity & Engagement

Texas A&M University – Michael Thompson, Deputy Director of Athletics

Vanderbilt University – Dr. Candice Storey Lee, Director of Athletics

Head Coaches

Baseball – Tim Corbin, Vanderbilt University

Men’s Basketball – Cuonzo Martin, University of Missouri

Women’s Basketball – Dawn Staley, University of South Carolina

Equestrian – Meghan Boenig, University of Georgia

Football – Derek Mason, Vanderbilt University

Men’s Golf – Nick Clinard, Auburn University

Women’s Golf – Ginger Brown-Lemm, Mississippi State University

Gymnastics – Tim Garrison, University of Kentucky

Soccer – G. Guerrieri, Texas A&M University

Softball – Pat Murphy, University of Alabama

Men’s and Women’s Swimming & Diving

Neil Harper, University of Arkansas

Anthony Nesty, University of Florida

Men’s Tennis – Bryan Shelton, University of Florida

Women’s Tennis – Allison Ojeda, University of Tennessee

Men’s and Women’s Track & Field/Cross Country

Lonnie Greene, University of Kentucky

Connie Price-Smith, Ole Miss

Volleyball – Fran Flory, LSU

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Please log in, or sign up for a new, free account to read or post comments.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.