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The Southeastern Conference had 1,198 student-athletes to make the academic honor roll in spring 2015.

Scholars. Champions. Leaders.

These three words were highlighted in blue as new Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey took the podium Monday morning. Aside from football, Sankey said he wants the SEC to take pride in its academics.

“Our job is to graduate every student athlete,” Sankey said. “Scholars first, champions second.”

Alabama had 107 student-athletes named to the academic honor roll this spring, and Sankey said he wants the conference to continue providing each student with a full college experience.

“In the SEC we lead, we don’t follow,” Sankey said. “We are going to do what’s right from our own perspective…The SEC is a conference that leads.”

Its won seven national championships in football since 2006, however, this season Sankey wants the conference focused not just on the athlete, but on the individual as a whole.

“We cannot lead until we learn to educate,” Sankey said.


Stephen M. Smith is a staff writer and columnist for Touchdown Alabama Magazine, Pick Six Previews and SB Nation. You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @ESPN_Future.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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