Sun Belt Commissioner Keith Gill Shares Thoughts On How The League Has Promoted Itself
In his first media session as Sun Belt Conference commissioner, Keith Gill said, "We need to do a better job of telling our story."
That was in July of 2019 during his state of the conference address at Sun Belt Conference Media Day.
Fast forward 17 months, and the 2020 Sun Belt Conference Championship game features two teams ranked in the top 17 of the AP poll, as #9 Coastal Carolina (11-0) hosts #17 Louisiana (9-1).
The Sun Belt has experienced unprecedented success in 2020. Has the conference done a good job telling their story?
Gill was available via teleconference yesterday as part of SBC championship week.
On the call, when asked about the success of Coastal Carolina or Louisiana, he was spot on in his analysis.
"The Sun Belt is one of the best football conferences in the country, and deserves the respect we're getting (this year) on a regular basis," explained Gill.
When asked about the Sun Belt deserving the Group of 5 representative in a New Year's Six Bowl, Gill's response was accurate and to the point.
"If you look at the teams in our (Football Bowl) Subdivision, if Cincinnati wins out and either Louisiana or Coastal wins out, we'll have the best wins on the board," noted Gill.
The issue many fanbases have is the conference not promoting the success enough throughout the season.
I asked Gill several questions on the subject matter. Here is each one, along with Gill's response.
(S.P.) - How would you grade the job you and the (Sun Belt) conference has done this year of promoting the conference's success?
(Gill) - I'll let other folks assign grade. We certainly have people we're accountable to. I'm certain all the folks on this call that have their thoughts and ideas, and I'm sure there's a lot of fans and those things that have their thoughts and ideas. I do think that generally our staff has worked really hard. You think about (Associate Commissioner, Football & Broadcasting) Travis (Llewellyn) and all the great things that he's done from a broadcast standpoint (and in) how we certainly try to manage our social media, and certainly try to take advantage of the linear TV opportunities. I think as a league, our institutions have done a good job in terms of activating around those opportunities. I'll certainly leave the evaluation to others, but I certainly think we've made great efforts in trying to capitalize in the visibility and opportunity that we've had this year.
(S.P) - Assuming whoever wins (Sun Belt Conference Championship Game) on Saturday, that push for a New Year's Six Bowl, whether it's Louisiana or Coastal (Carolina), what's the process like following that? Do you reach out to national members of the media? How do you 'shout from the mountaintops' so to speak, whenever it's all hands on deck at that point?
(Gill) - I certainly think you can play out some of that stuff in the media, but you know, I don't want to offend anyone on this call, but the reality is, not a lot of things are moved in the CFP (college football playoff committee) room based on things that are written in the press. We will certainly make sure we take our opportunity to provide our written case and certainly tell the folks on the (CFP) committee what we believe those arguments are, so we'll take advantage of that. I don't know that necessarily chirping a lot in the media is necessarily going to move the needle a lot. Hopefully, none of you are offended by that. Our teams have done a great job on the field. We certainly have done our job to present that case to the CFP. I'm optimistic when it's all said and done on Sunday that we'll be right where we want to be, and we'll have an opportunity (to play in) a New Year's Six (Bowl).
(S.P.) - In talking to the College Football Playoff Committee, do you speak to members of that committee or do you let the (Sun Belt) resume speak for itself?
(Gill) - Hopefully it's both. There's certainly conversations you have with the committee. There is a process there where you're trying to provide information to the folks on that committee in a formalized way that's used in terms of their evaluation and deliberations.